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MLB Expansion is on the Table

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The Major League Baseball logo in an on-deck circle. Photo: Charles Rex Arbogast/AP

By Evan Weiner |

Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred is still pushing the idea that the league should add two teams to its 30 franchises. Thirty-two teams is actually an almost three decade old plan that was considered. But it cannot be done until Oakland and Tampa Bay have new stadiums.

Manfred added that in a decade people will be happy they toughed it out in those two markets. Oakland ownership has identified three possible ballpark locations in the city and Tampa Bay owners have a spot picked out in Tampa. Last July, out of nowhere Charlotte, N.C., became a player for a Major League Baseball expansion franchise. Charlotte has never really been on anybody’s radar for a Major League Baseball team and in fact Charlotte’s bid to land a cheaper team, a Major League Soccer expansion franchise, failed. The city has limited corporate money with the NFL Panthers, the NBA Hornets and NASCAR in town along with nearby college sports. But Manfred has identified three areas where an expansion team or maybe even a relocated franchise could end up. Charlotte, Montreal and Mexico City.

Missing from Manfred’s list are two Pacific Northwest cities, Portland, Oregon and Vancouver, British Columbia along with Monterey, Mexico. Periodically there is some noise from Portland about wanting to land a Major League Baseball team. Vancouver would need to build a stadium and there doesn’t seem to be much enthusiasm for a team in the city. Only two of the three cities Manfred has mentioned will get expansion teams, if Major League Baseball owners go in that direction.

Right now, the only leagues expanding are Major League Soccer and the National Hockey League with the NHL focusing on Seattle. Major League Baseball needs to settle Oakland and Tampa Bay and get a new deal with the players before expanding.

By Evan Weiner For The Politics Of Sports Business

This article was republished with permission from the original publisher, Evan Weiner.

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