9 Professional Sports Teams That Should Pack Up and Move
There’s nothing worse than seeing a historic sports franchise pack up and move to another city. For fans, the experience is similar to watching a loved one pass away, or in some cases, going through a bitter divorce. But the fact of the matter is that money talks and B.S. walks. Besides, not all franchises are created equal. Some teams are woven into the fabric of their community. I hate the Boston Red Sox, but if they moved, even I would be pissed. Can the same be said about the Nashville Predators? I think not.
With that in mind, here are 9 teams that, with a few exceptions, have no justifiable reason to stay put.
The Minnesota Vikings
Look, before some of you bitch, I was really on the fence with this team. And to be honest, I really want them to stay in Minnesota, and there are numerous reasons why they should. The team has a great fan base in a historic division. The NFC Central wouldn’t be the same without them. But the fact remains that if they can’t get a new stadium built in Arden Hills, it’s time to hit the road.
For years, the team has been clamoring for a new facility, but to no avail. You’d think the Metrodome’s roof collapse would have proved their point, but some politicians are still dragging their feet. There’s certainly an argument to be made against using public money to build such a facility, and if that’s your stance, fine. But if that’s your position, don’t be surprised when your team ends up in L.A.
The Florida (Miami) Marlins
The Marlins have only been in existence since 1993, but they’ve already won the World Series twice. Yet the team still has trouble selling out their games. Granted, that’s due, in no small part, to the fact that the management has had a nasty habit of trading off players when their salaries get too high, which doesn’t really help with fan loyalty. But even so, some fans go a lifetime without seeing their team win the series. Even one win should guarantee sellouts for five years. Marlins fans don’t know how good they’ve got it.
There’s nothing wrong with a small-market team. After all, look what the Packers have done. But when a small-market team lacks both history and a sustainable fan base, it’s time to back your bags and head for greener pastures. Yes, attendance was up for the Jags last season, but how could it not be. For years, the team has been unable to sell out their stadium. 2009 was so dismal that seven of their eight home games were blacked out. If attendance continues moving in the right direction, fine. If not, pull the plug and move them to Toronto. Better them than Buffalo. The franchise isn’t even 20-years old. In a decade, no one would even remember Jacksonville had a team.
If a few things had gone differently, this team would already have moved to Kansas City or Hamilton, Ontario. Only NHL rules and a business deal’s last-minute collapse kept the team in Nashville. In 2008, the team averaged 14,900 per game, just 900 over the 14,000 limit that would have allowed the current owners to move the team. And considering the original owner, Craig Leipold, lost $70 million over ten years, it’s easy to see why the current ownership might want out.
If not for the NHL seeking to placate the Toronto Maple Leafs and Buffalo Sabres, this team would already be in Hamilton, Ontario. The Coyotes have already gone bankrupt, and although a last minute deal was reached in late 2010 to keep the team in Glendale, I’m not sure why. It’s time for a fresh start.
The Grizzlies moved to Memphis looking for a fresh start. But the way things are looking, maybe they should have stayed in Vancouver. Last year the team ranked third worst in attendance, behind the Kings and the Nets. As AskMen.com points out, only a $100 million lease at FedEx Forum is keeping the team in place.
The Oakland Raiders
It’s no secret that the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum is a dump. And even with the Raider’s better-than expected season, Oakland ranked dead last in attendance for 2010. Who the hell knows what is going on in Al Davis’ senile brain, but this team should definitely make the move to San Jose. Keep Oakland in the name, but get a new stadium in the burbs.
The St. Louis Rams
Los Angeles is desperate for an NFL team. The Rams have the third lowest attendance in the league. Looking back, maybe moving the team from the West Coast to the Rust Belt wasn’t the best move.
The Sacramento Kings
I would have included the Nets on this list, but they’re already moving. That leaves the Kings at the bottom of NBA attendance. In a state with three other NBA teams Sacramento just can’t compete.