After a period of time without a team, last week the NHL approved the sale of the Atlanta Thrashers to a group that plans on returning a franchise to Winnipeg, Manitoba—a team that was robbed of its franchise back in the mid-1990s.
Unlike the Atlanta Thrashers, last month the NBA's worst owners—the Maloof brothers—threw the Sacramento Kings a bone when they decided to keep the Sacramento Kings in the city for one more year.
However, Sacramento is not out of the dark yet. If the city refuses to pass a measure to build a new stadium within the next year, the Maloofs are taking their team to greener pastures—presumably Orange County/Anaheim, California.
In the Maloofs' mind, ARCO Arena's lack of suites and declining season ticket sales (thanks to the slashing of the payroll over the last few years) doesn't stack up to Anaheim's abundance of luxury boxes and millionaire residents.
But what the Maloofs fail to recognize is that their greed may rob the NBA of one of the league's best environments.
Since 1985, the city of Sacramento has supported their only professional sports team with all of their might, through one of the NBA's most rabid fan bases. Considering that the team only had three or four years of success in Sacramento, that means this city has certainly given more to its team than it has received.
I remember watching the 2002 Western Conference Finals where the Kings lost in a controversial series to the Los Angeles Lakers. ARCO Arena was rocking. The fans were decked out in black and purple, and you could feel an intensity in the small arena that could not be matched anywhere in the NBA.
In celebration of the Kings staying in Sacramento, but acknowledging that next year they may be the Anaheim Royals, let's take a look at my idea of the 10 most devastating franchise relocations in professional sports history.
The telling trend in this list is that many small market teams with only one professional team have been abandoned for large markets. I think that's a sad situation, because in my mind teams that are the only show in town tend to have some of the most supportive franchise bases—as long as their owners invest in their team.
Portland, Montreal, Salt Lake City, Green Bay, Vancouver, Oklahoma City and San Antonio come to mind as successful one-team endeavors. Even cities like Columbus and Memphis support their teams (so long as ownership is devoted to the team's success).
Hopefully next year Sacramento is NOT on this list.