“What’s with these sports moves?”
Growing up, there weren’t that many sports shake-ups regarding franchise moves. But, just in my small time as an adult, I have witnessed a few moves that were odd to me as well. There were the Vancouver Grizzlies to Memphis, Tennessee and the Charlotte Hornets to New Orleans, then Hornets to be renamed to Pelicans. Don’t forget the expansion team in Charlotte called the Bobcats. And how about the move from Seattle Supersonics to the Oklahoma City Thunder. Now that’s just the NBA, don’t get me started on the NFL. In the past couple of years St. Louis Rams moved back to Los Angeles along with soon to be San Diego Chargers to LA. Oakland Raiders are now moving to Las Vegas. Well, why the moves?
In my opinion, the main reason for the moves are because of financial opportunities. Oakland Raiders might be able to make more money in Vegas than Oakland. Or how about the Supersonics leaving Seattle; could it be that more revenues are being generated in Oklahoma? Because to us as the fans, we just want to see our favorite sports teams play. But to the front office of these organizations, it’s a business like any other multinational organization. They are profit maximizing firms that must adhere to their bottom line. But, it is all about money for the moves? Or could there be another reason for the changes?
There is another reason, and that is that issues concerning the stadiums can run in excess of a lot of money. For instance, the team owners don’t own the stadium where they play. So there are a lot of tax dollars being allocated to these stadiums, and that means money from tax paying citizens. And if you’re a franchise that has not been winning games, you might have to move. People will grow to resent the organization because their money is being spent on a non winning team. Now, you ask, how does winning effect the economics of a city. Take Cleveland for instance, when Lebron James went to Miami, the city lost a lot of money. But later recouped money once he returned. Why, because local businesses were making money due to the Cavaliers winning. Places such as restaurants, bars, nightclubs, and hospitality services.
The third option for moves, are to build a new loyal fan base. When the Seattle Supersonics moved from Seattle to Oklahoma City Thunder, a new base was created. There is a whole generation that doesn’t even remember the Seattle team. And with the past few seasons making the playoffs, they have emerged in this new city as a basketball powerhouse. Could this be the direction more franchises go for? How about certain teams that should move? How about the Buffalo Bills in Buffalo, New York or how about when the New Jersey Nets came to Brooklyn, New York. Some of these places should move and it’s for their own benefit. More people are willing to jump on board, and the reach is not only in the city, but nationwide; along with global building. Trust and believe, Brooklyn, New York is a much bigger market for basketball than the state of New Jersey.
So overall, what now? Will we see even more moves in the years to come? Some of these teams are still in smaller markets. Markets that are not as attractive to people as the bigger places. Los Angeles is better than St. Louis and Las Vegas is better than Oakland. Now, not all moves are good, but for whatever the reason, dollars and cents are the bottom line. And will be the reason for changes unless there is a better deal for other reasons to stay.