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MTSUBlueraider86

MLB in Nashville?

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I briefly caught a discussion on a sports program on the radio today and David Climer from the Tennessean was commenting on this possible move. He was not convinced that Nashville could support another professional sports franchise. I am paraphrasing but he said " Nashville sports fans cannot support another professional sports franchise, their pockets are not that deep especially in these economic times with as small a population as we have."

He is right. Can a county of 600,000 people like Davidson support three sports franchises? A city like Chicago with 8 million people has five. They have the Cubs, White Sox, Bears, Blackhawks, and the Bulls. Even 8 million cannot support all five all of the time, especially when some have losing records. If we consider 1.2 million as our MSA, is that still enough?

Cincinnati, Atlanta, and St. Louis are only a five hour drive for MLB.

How would Mayor Dean get support for this? Would it be private funding?

Metro Nashville has laid off teachers, police, fire etc...Could this even be justified?

BR86

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2010 numbers for Tampa Bay ranked 22 out of 30 teams - Tampa Bay 81 1,864,999 23,024

the number 30 team Cleveland with 500,000 metro pop. and 3 major teams - 80 1,391,644 17,395

I am not convinced that we could not handle this, especially since it is played April to September.

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If anyone has any information on this please post it. If this becomes a serious proposal, I'll pin it so it is easy to find.

Thanks!

BR86

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I found this article from the Washington Examiner that talks about the Rays coming to Nashville. Here in Charlotte, we see our name thrown into the possible destinations for MLB relocation and I really doubt we could support a 3rd franchise, even though I'd like to see it. Charlotte and Nashville are comparable cities in terms of size and we both have 2 major league teams, so I would question whether Nashville could support the team too. If we were both just 1 team towns, I'd say yea, but not sure either city could support a 3rd franchise. I do see the Rays relocating within the next 5 years (or sooner). The fan support isn't there for a team that's winning and it sure won't be there for when the owner slashes the payroll starting next year. Sad to watch because you want to see people support this kind of team over the Yankees or Red Sox.

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Interesting numbers.. I hadn't thought about Cleveland. Looks like their metro poplulation is about 500k higher than us. Still.. they also have one of the highest poverty rates in the country. Yet still able to support 3 professional teams.

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What happens to the Nashville Sounds if this happens?

BR86

The AAA team would most likely be forced to move to another city should Nashville ever land an MLB team, though it would probably remain somewhere close to the city as possible depending on who's willing to take them.

It's also possible that the Nashville Sounds name could be used for the MLB team itself if they want to keep the name and history here.

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I found this article from the Washington Examiner that talks about the Rays coming to Nashville. Here in Charlotte, we see our name thrown into the possible destinations for MLB relocation and I really doubt we could support a 3rd franchise, even though I'd like to see it. Charlotte and Nashville are comparable cities in terms of size and we both have 2 major league teams, so I would question whether Nashville could support the team too. If we were both just 1 team towns, I'd say yea, but not sure either city could support a 3rd franchise. I do see the Rays relocating within the next 5 years (or sooner). The fan support isn't there for a team that's winning and it sure won't be there for when the owner slashes the payroll starting next year. Sad to watch because you want to see people support this kind of team over the Yankees or Red Sox.

As I said in another thread, I think you would have to market the team as an American League team. If you plot the location of every AL team on a map of the US, you will see a big hole in the middle of America where there are no teams.

The red stars represent AL cities. The dashed line is a hypothetical 'Nashville' market, where people are closer to Nashville than any other AL team.

ALMarket.jpg

Nashville would be the closest AL city to a very large population (maybe 40 million or more). With the Yankees and Red Sox coming in twice a year each and Detroit and Cleveland playing before relocated fans here in Nashville, Baseball may have a chance.

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Can Nashville support MLB?

No.

How many cities of our population have three professional team sports franchises?

Zero. (Unless you count the NBA and MLB in Milwaukee and NFL in Green Bay, which I don't count because that's an unusual model. Packers are a "national franchise" and founded long before the "sports culture craze" hit the U.S.)

If there is a city I'm forgetting, I stand corrected.

There is a reason cities with metro populations of no more than 2 million have two, one or no pro team sports franchises.

I say "no" to MLB. It would flop (in terms of attendance) within three years max and that would hurt the city's reputation.

WW

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I think the proposal is just a teaser to get bids from other cities.

BR86

Very possible, BR86 (and nice use of the bolded letters).

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There is a reason cities with metro populations of no more than 2 million have two, one or no pro team sports franchises.

I am still optimistic.. especially now realizing Cleveland is apparently supporting 3 teams, even with a high poverty level.

But then, i've always been more of a baseball fan than anything else :) Go Sounds?

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The Cleveland metro area has over 2.2 million people. That's roughly 500-600k more people than Nashville and 400-500k more than Charlotte. If you look at Cleveland they had a long history of supporting the Browns (both pre and post Art Modell). The Cavaliers only had strong support over the last 7 years with LeBron James there. I'd be willing to bet attendance will take a hit since he's in Miami now. The Indians have had dwindling attendance over the last decade, mostly in part to the team not being as competitive as it was in the 90s and the "newness" of Jacobs Field wearing off. I agree that an American League team would be the most likely versus National league, however the main factor here is economics. Baseball, out of the 4 major sports is the most expensive to support from a personal income level. I'd have to dig up the numbers, but basically for a metro area to support baseball it's going to cost fans about the same as it does for the NFL and NBA or NHL combined. I think East Side Urbanite hit the nail on the head, it's going to flop in 3 years. I think there are very few markets out there that don't already have a team, that could support MLB in the long term. I know Charlotte (where I live) cannot and doubt Nashville could either. Not a dis on the city, just trying to be realistic. I know we'd all like to see these teams in our respective cities, but it would be harder for some of us to decide which team to support. I know I couldn't support a 3rd team right now unless I got a fat raise :)

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I think its pretty bold for any professional sports organization to even think of such a move in this economy, especially when moving a sports franchise costs a city a lot of jobs.

BR86

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The Cleveland metro area has over 2.2 million people. That's roughly 500-600k more people than Nashville and 400-500k more than Charlotte. If you look at Cleveland they had a long history of supporting the Browns (both pre and post Art Modell). The Cavaliers only had strong support over the last 7 years with LeBron James there. I'd be willing to bet attendance will take a hit since he's in Miami now. The Indians have had dwindling attendance over the last decade, mostly in part to the team not being as competitive as it was in the 90s and the "newness" of Jacobs Field wearing off. I agree that an American League team would be the most likely versus National league, however the main factor here is economics. Baseball, out of the 4 major sports is the most expensive to support from a personal income level. I'd have to dig up the numbers, but basically for a metro area to support baseball it's going to cost fans about the same as it does for the NFL and NBA or NHL combined. I think East Side Urbanite hit the nail on the head, it's going to flop in 3 years. I think there are very few markets out there that don't already have a team, that could support MLB in the long term. I know Charlotte (where I live) cannot and doubt Nashville could either. Not a dis on the city, just trying to be realistic. I know we'd all like to see these teams in our respective cities, but it would be harder for some of us to decide which team to support. I know I couldn't support a 3rd team right now unless I got a fat raise :)

dbull75 is dead on. It boils down to population and, to a lesser degree, culture. For years, the South was not known for being a "pro sports region" of the country. That has improved. But, in Nashville, most folks (like myself) are "football/basketball" fans. For many of us, MLB and NHL simply don't carry much appeal.

Having said this, I favor a new Sounds stadium for many reasons, including how the facility could spur additional infill development.

WW

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dbull75 is dead on. It boils down to population and, to a lesser degree, culture. For years, the South was not known for being a "pro sports region" of the country. That has improved. But, in Nashville, most folks (like myself) are "football/basketball" fans. For many of us, MLB and NHL simply don't carry much appeal.

Having said this, I favor a new Sounds stadium for many reasons, including how the facility could spur additional infill development.

WW

In terms of the Sounds and a new stadium...what do you think of building it in South Sobro to help spur development? My thoughts are that a big added benefit would be in how it would compliment the riverfront in regards to making downtown a great destination for families in the future...

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The Sounds stadium in SOBRO would be great to bridge south downtown with an area of town ripe for redevelopment, however; the mayor is sold on the north capital side and the old Sulphur Dell site to connect north Nashville with the rest of downtown.

I am sure many still want the Sounds Stadium on the old thermal transfer site which has been vacant for almost a decade now.

BR86

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J.R. Lind with a fine piece in today's City Paper and about MLB. Not going to happen. We can end this discussion.

As to a Sounds stadium in SoBro, Nashwatcher, I would prefer North Capitol. We need to "connect" the Central Business District and Germantown. A stadium would help. Good point about a stadium in SoBro and the riverfront. But SoBro is "getting everything." We need to balance the areas for stuff so as to create a sweeping mass of urban fabric. Too much concentration could be negative. I vote for NoCap for the Sounds.

WW

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I would like to see MLB and maybe NBA have some expansions. Charlotte, Louisville, Birmingham, Memphis, Nashville, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, Oklahoma City, New Orleans could be potential MLB cities or NBA (x those that already have one). I agree, I don't think we could successfully support another sports team yet. Maybe in a few years.

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I would like to see MLB and maybe NBA have some expansions. Charlotte, Louisville, Birmingham, Memphis, Nashville, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, Oklahoma City, New Orleans could be potential MLB cities or NBA (x those that already have one). I agree, I don't think we could successfully support another sports team yet. Maybe in a few years.

NBA is talking contraction. With this economy, I wouldn't hold my breath for any new pro sports for quite a while.

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Yeah, I did hear about that. Not going to pass out over it. Just a pipe dream...hehe.

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Looks like Mayor Dean created a national controversy when he 'jokingly' suggested the Tampa Bay Rays should move to Nashville. He may claim he was joking, but he and others have apparently been thinking about the possibilty.

As I have stated elsewhere in this thread, it might work if marketed as a regional, American League team. And who doesn't think the Yankees and Red Sox wouldn't sell out every time along with intra-league games with Atlanta, Cincy and St Louis?

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