Where are the best opportunities for a new sports franchise in the United States?

So, you are starting up a new sports franchise in one of the United States’ big four sports leagues of the NBA, MLB, NHL and NFL? Let us help you.

There are currently 114 teams in these leagues based in the US, which on the surface can definitely make the market seem overpopulated.

But with a population of almost 320 million and the world’s largest GDP, there will always be opportunity in America, especially for a sports team.

Americans live and breathe their sports, and after all, the United States is ‘The Land of Opportunity’.

With that in mind, if you were starting up your own band of chargers, where would be some of the better cities to base yourself in 2017?

Notable omissions

New York City, NY

New York City is like the Noah’s ark of sports – it’s massive, and includes two of every animal. Two basketball teams, two baseball, two hockey and two NFL.

Despite being easily the biggest city in the country, almost the international capital of capitalism, NYC is the one city in the nation where the market is simply too saturated.

Mind you, there are a few teams in the city hanging on by a thread, so watch this space in a few years time to see if an opportunity arises.

Los Angeles, CA

Until recently, there were stunningly NO NFL teams based in Los Angeles – certainly not for the lack of trying from league commissioner Roger Goodell.

As he usually does, Goodell eventually got his wish, and two teams in two seasons have relocated to LA – or rather “re-relocated”, as they had both previously called the city home.

LOS ANGELES, CA – FEBRUARY 28: Jordan Clarkson #6 of the Los Angeles Lakers and Nicolas Batum #5 of the Charlotte Hornets jump for a rebound during a 109-104 Hornets win at Staples Center on February 28, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

That now makes two teams in three of the four leagues, with the Los Angeles Kings the lone hockey team in the City of Angels.

Unless you’re planning to introduce another hockey team to the city – which would make you a very brave person – it’s probably best to avoid this southern California city for now.

The list

In no particular order, here are five great US cities where there is plenty of opportunity for a fictional expansion team to succeed.

Chicago, IL

This city of brilliant history fittingly plays home to some of the most historic and famous sports teams not just in America, but in the world.

The Bulls are arguably the biggest basketball team in the world after the LA Lakers, the Cubs arguably the biggest in their sport after the NY Yankees and Boston Red Sox, the Blackhawks own the best modern day dynasty in hockey, and the Bears are one of the most successful teams in NFL history.

Whilst cracking into the popularity of any of these four teams would certainly be a challenge, Chicago is the third biggest city in the country, and is only growing, with plenty of land, industry, money, and people.

With 10 million people in the immediate Chicago area, that’s more people than the eight million that currently reside in New York City. Apart from baseball (two teams), a bold entrepreneur could certainly find success in the Windy City.

Houston, TX

I have decided to include only one city from the great state of Texas, and that city is Houston.

Another growing city, Houston has a fantastic blend of what makes a city great – lots of different cultures, plenty of national history, and of course, lots and lots of money.

Now both an international business and travel hub, Houston is projected to soon overtake Chicago in population count.

Perhaps what makes this an attractive sports market is that no one team in the city – the Rockets, the Astros or the Texans – have seen overwhelming success. Any new team is well within grasp of winning the city’s heart.

San Jose, CA

One of the biggest one team cities in the country, it’s hard to believe that San Jose is home only to an NHL franchise – the San Jose Sharks (the San Francisco 49ers also play just down the road in Santa Clara).

Luckily for San Jose-ans, their Sharks have proven reasonably successful since entering the league in 1991, going to the Conference Finals three times and the Stanley Cup Finals once last year.

As the largest city in the Bay Area, and known as the capital of Silicon Valley, San Jose is imaginably experiencing a period of large population and financial growth, and is growing a reputation as a youthfully vibrant and progressive city, as San Francisco to the north once did in the 1960s.

PEORIA, AZ – MARCH 05: Adam Rosales #16 of the Oakland Athletics singles in the first inning of the spring training game against the Seattle Mariners at Peoria Stadium on March 5, 2017 in Peoria, Arizona. (Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images)

The opportunities in this city right now are endless – whatever trade you’re in. The city had its bid for the Oakland Athletics rejected in 2015, signaling that they are surely not far away from owning a new team soon.

San Diego, CA

Another Californian city, this time down the opposite end of the coast, San Diego was recently deserted by its NFL franchise, but do not let that fool you about the status quo of this waterfront destination.

Unfortunately for San Diegans, they have not had much to cheer for in their professional sporting ventures, and their recent painful overnight divorce from the Chargers is nothing short of utterly depressing.

However, the city has always shown its love for baseball – after success in the late 1990s and mid 2000s, the fans paid their respects to the Padres by still showing up into the now very lean periods of the 2010s.

All fans love a winner, there is no doubt about that, and if someone can build one in San Diego, who knows the riches that await.

Seattle, WA

One of the trendiest cities to live, visit, or build a business in the 2010s, Seattle is surely only a few years away from a third professional sports team.

The port city is starting to outgrow its antiquated shipping and manufacturing identity, and is starting to become a niche market for growing businesses – Microsoft and Amazon have both grown out of the city, as did Starbucks.

The city was devastated to lose their SuperSonics to Oklahoma City in 2008, when their cantankerous mayor, Gregory J. Nickels, did absolutely nothing to keep them in the city (and subsequently lost his job a year later).

After years of heartbreak seeing the Thunder succeed in Oklahoma, Seattleites are ready to love again, especially after their Seahawks won their first Super Bowl in 2013. Surely this city about to make a rich sports ownership group even richer.

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