MLB: Top 15 Cities the Cleveland Indians Should Consider for Relocation

Nick StewartContributor IMarch 16, 2011

MLB: Top 15 Cities the Cleveland Indians Should Consider for Relocation

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    After the 2010 season, it has become apparent that there are a few teams that would probably be well served by relocating.  Attendance figures are very low.  Fan appreciation is even lower.  Revenues...well we won't get into how bad these must be.

    The worst teams in MLB (by attendance) are the following:

    The Cleveland Indians had a miserable attendance record last year with an average fan appearance of 17,435.  This could be due to a number of reasons, but the systematic dismantling of a once great team by the Dolan family could have something to do with this. (Feel free to add any comments or provide any insights, Indians fans.)

    Coming in a close second with an average fan appearance of 17,511 are the Oakland Athletics.  This is more than likely a result of the A's being the second-best team in a 20 square mile area, with the other being World Series Champions.

    Hot on the trails of these teams are the Florida Marlins with an average fan base of 18,953. The Marlins have actually won a World Series in the modern era of baseball, yet still can't seem to keep fans interested. This is probably due to the fact that Spring Training occurs within walking distance and it just makes more economic sense to see the team during Spring. (Are you listening Rays?)

    The following are the top 15 U.S. cities, in no particular order, that might actually do well with a MLB team.

Number 1: El Paso, Texas

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    El Paso is the second-largest city in the United States without a professional sports team. 

    El Paso is also not located within a feasible distance for fans to make a day trip going to a MLB game anywhere.  The city is so starved for a MLB team that their semi-pro team has a stadium that seats over 5000!

    The closest team to El Paso is the Phoenix Cardinals...over 400 miles away!

    El Paso also happens to be the 22nd most populated city in the United States.

    If these ingredients don't add up to be a good market for a MLB team, I don't know what would.

Number 2: Omaha, Nebraska

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    Omaha, Nebraska is most notably known as a college baseball community, hosting the NCAA World Series every year.  This is proof enough that the residents of this city do love baseball.

    Omaha is the 40th largest city in the United States, but is geographically perfect for a MLB team and its citizens would support a team, if given one.  They already show up to support their AAA team—the Omaha Storm Chasers.

    Omaha has a rich history of sports in its history.  A MLB team would only enhance this image and give Omaha's citizens one more image of pride in their city.

Number 3: Louisville, Kentucky

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    Louisville, Kentucky is definitely a sports town.  Louisville is also the 29th most populated city in the United States.

    The city is steeped in sports traditions, from basketball (where it ranks first nationally in percent to capacity attendance annually), to football, where the Cardinals are finally beginning to come into their own, securing an Orange Bowl win in 2007.

    This area is primed for a professional sports team and MLB would work perfectly in this area.

Number 4: Charlotte, North Carolina

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    Charlotte is already the home to an NBA team and and NFL team, both of whom do surprisingly well in this hip city.  Why MLB or any of its owners have not caught on to this city is beyond me.

    Charlotte boasts a younger audience than almost any city in this list, yet an above average median annual salary.

    Hmmm, young people with money?  Wonder if they would go to a professional sporting event?

Number 5: Albuquerque, New Mexico

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    Already home to one of the most famous farm teams, the Albuquerque Isotopes, this city would be a wonderful venue for a MLB team. Any city willing to have a stadium that seats 12,500 fans for a AAA team seems like it may be primed to go to the big time

    Albuquerque also has no geographical markets in which another team may have conquered. 

    MLB should have stopped here instead of following Bugs when he made that left.

Number 6: Sacramento, California

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    With only the sub-par NBA Kings and over 2,000,000 residents, I would be amiss not to add Sacramento as a contender for a Major League baseball team.

    The capital of California, Sacramento is considered by Time magazine the most ethnically and and racially integrated city. 

    Sacramento is one of the fastest growing cities in the country and is primed for a sports team.  Any city that will support a 16-49 basketball team can and will support any local team.

Number 7: Boise, Idaho

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    A professional baseball team?

    Yep, you got it.  The sentiment that Boise was not a "real" sports city is dead and gone.  With over 580,000 residents in the metropolitan area, Boise is the fourth largest city in the Pacific Northwest and boasts 15 sports championships in four different sports.  The Boise Hawks (a single-A Minor League team) have six of these.

    Boise is also considered by many to be one of the best and most secure places to live in the United States.

Number 8: Portland Oregon

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    Portland is well-located geographically for a new MLB franchise.  Between San Francisco and Seattle (two teams that don't have attendance issues), Portland could actually be one of the best choices on the list.

    Already home to the NBA's Trailblazers, Portland citizens are already primed for another professional sport.

    A city ranked 42nd worldwide for its standard of living can definitely use and support a MLB team.

Number 9: Memphis, Tennessee

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    Memphis has the largest population of any city in Tennessee.  They also have an NBA franchise and have hosted many teams from now defunct leagues. (XFL, Arena football)

    Memphis citizens are a picky bunch, but once they support a team, they will stand behind it forever.

    Located close to Little Rock, Arkansas and Nashville, Tennessee, Memphis may be the geographically perfect place to put a future (or current) baseball team.

    The positives would outweigh the negatives in this city steeped in southern charm...and the best BBQ this side of the Mississippi River.

Number 10: San Antonio, Texas

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    How can the seventh largest city in the U.S. not already have an MLB team?

    San Antonio is one of the best cities in the U.S. for sports.  The citizens support the NBA's Spurs, the WNBA's Silver Stars, and the Texas League's San Antonio Missions. 

    Located within driving distance of Austin, San Antonio is also home to numerous military bases, whose residents will come out en masse to professional sporting events. 

    San Antonio has been trying to lure an MLB or and NFL team to its welcoming arms for years.  Critics insist the city has too small a metropolitan area, however, this doesn't stop the fans from pouring in every time the Spurs tip off.

Number 11: Salt Lake City, Utah

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    One of the most beautiful cities in the world, host of the Olympic Games, and geographically out of the market for any other MLB team, Salt Lake City would almost be a perfect match for the MLB.

    The Utah Jazz are the only of the Big four sports leagues in Salt Lake City.  They are heavily supported and happened to have gone to the playoffs 22 times in the last 25 years.  This city loves its sports.

    With one of the youngest markets of the top contenders (33.4% of the population is aged 25-44), Salt Lake City seems to be a smart investment for another major sports team of any type.

    MLB should take a hard look at this city and what it has to offer. 

Number 12: New Orleans, Louisiana

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    The Big Easy has hosted a Super Bowl winning football franchise, the Sugar Bowl, an NBA team, more Super Bowls than any other city and a PGA Tour date.

    They do not have an MLB team.  The closest MLB team to New Orleans is the Houston Astros.  This is a six hour drive for residents of New Orleans. 

    This city also seems like an obvious choice for a MLB team.  Its 1.2 million citizens already rabidly support the Saints and the Hornets, so another team would probably do just as well.

    Beware, though: the citizens of New Orleans are very poor sports.  They do not like losing teams and will vocalize such with no reservations.

    The citizens seem to embrace the motto,"Show me a good loser and I will show you someone who is used to it." 

Number 13: Nashville, Tennesee

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    Nashville, Tennessee.  Home of country music, the Tennessee Titans. the Nashville Predators, the Vanderbilt Commodores, and the Nashville Sounds.

    Who?  The closest thing one of the greatest sports cities in the world has to an MLB team is a PCL team called the Nashville Sounds. (Actually the closest thing would probably be the Vanderbilt University baseball team, but we won't get in to that here.)

    This city is very affluent, very young and completely primed for MLB to come to town.

    If you don't believe fans in Tennessee will support a sports team, go to a Titans game dressed in the other team's jersey.  Try to find a store in Nashville that doesn't sell something with the Predators logo or the Titans logo.  Go to Tennessee and try to avoid seeing the color orange.

    It's all an exercise in futility.  Just like keeping America's past time out of one of America's hippest cities.  Its going to happen eventually.  You heard it here first.

Number 14: Indianapolis, Indiana

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    The Indianapolis Indians.  Not the AAA team they have now.  The MLB team.

    Sounds good, doesn't it?  If the owners of the Cleveland Indians haven't considered a move to Indianapolis yet, they are crazy.  Indianapolis residents are begging for an MLB team.  Cleveland has one that they don't want.  Its a match made in heaven.

    Indianapolis boasts an NFL team, an NBA team, a rugby team, a hockey team, and a women's basketball team.

    Its residents are die-hard fans as well.  With a median household income of over $40,000, it's citizens can and will pay to see an MLB team. 

    If only the Dolan family would take a page from LeBron's book and scoot out of town for the money, this might save their failing franchise.

Number 15: Las Vegas, Nevada

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    Sin City.  The world's number one travel destination.

    Everyone knows what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.

    MLB needs to happen in Vegas.  This is one of the richest, youngest, hippest cities in the world and there are NO major league sports teams in the city, because there are concerns about legal sports betting. 


    Pete Rose never played baseball in Vegas.  He never played anywhere near Vegas.  It sure didn't stop him from betting. 

    People are going to bet on every major sporting even until the end of time.  We just don't want it to be convenient?  It's much more inconvenient to go to a casino to place a bet when you can do it from your PC now.