People keep creating these bloody lists of potential NBA expansion cities that don’t include Vancouver. No, they list cities that have never had a team, never had a pro sports team, and are even places you couldn’t find if given a map.
Here are a few that I came across recently, and a series of facts/sick and childish burns about how Vancouver is the superior city.
NBA expansion cities: Montreal
First off, I’d love to see a team in Montreal…they would be called the Montreal Expos and they’d play baseball! The Montreal Baseball Project has been working for years to bring the Expos back, and I think the city should focus exclusively on that before worrying about being an NBA expansion city.
The MBP have a huge following (myself included!), an online store, and ongoing dialogue with civic leaders. Baseball must return to Montreal first.
NBA expansion cities: Louisville
First, just no. Comparing Louisville to Vancouver, in terms of talks over NBA expansion franchises, is just not fair to Louisville. Here are a few facts to consider:
- Vancouver metro population is 2.6 million. Louisville is 1.2 million. We’re over twice the size in terms of population, and that equates to people buying tickets and merchandise.
- Not only does Louisville have that smaller population, but they also have a smaller population on the state/provincial scale. Kentucky is 4.4 million people, British Columbia has 5.1 million. That’s ignoring the fact that fans would come from other parts of Western Canada without a team closer than Toronto.
- Money and wealth disparity is huge. The richest person in Kentucky has $5.7 billion. The richest in BC? $39.5 billion. There are 6 other people in BC richer than Kentucky’s richest.
- The global appeal of Vancouver’s ability to attract fans is huge. Our connection to the Asian markets is very direct. Kentucky is connected to, well…Missouri?
Big respect to Louisville for baseball and their exceptional bats, but an NBA team? Nah, fam.
NBA expansion cities: Hampton Roads
Yes, I’ve actually seen this suggested by a real human person as far back as 2017. No, I’m not linking to garbage like that. The issue here reflects all of the issues that Louisville has and then some:
- Smaller population (1.7 million)
- Less wealth (there’s the Mars family and then a few stragglers)
- No connections to global markets
This one baffles me as being under consideration. There’s no way that a team here would mean as much as what a team in Vancouver would mean to me. Seriously, no cheating, tell me where Hampton Roads is on this map.
I’ll wait while you google it if you didn’t watch the video.
Virginia. It’s in Virginia. That’s on the east coast above North Carolina…
I mean, the only sport that truly interests Virginians is that sport in which they turn left: NASCAR! The biggest draws for sports are Richmond Raceway and the fabulous track known as “The Paperclip”: Martinsville Speedway. Virginia is for lovers and racers, not ballers.
NBA expansion cities: Kansas City
There’s an argument to be made here with the ongoing success of the Kansas Jayhawks university basketball team, no doubt about that. They do have a few weaknesses as an NBA expansion city compared to Vancouver though:
- Smaller metro population at 2.1 million versus Vancouver’s 2.6 million.
- Fewer billionaires with just 6 compared to BC’s 40, leading to less overall wealth.
- They’re not the major headquarters of any major company, while Vancouver has a dozen or more. Cerner Corporation, Hallmark, and H&R Block are the only significant companies in Missouri, while Vancouver has Microsoft, EA Sports, Telus, Lululemon, Amazon, Lenovo, and Hootsuite (to name a few) with established major offices or their headquarters in Vancouver. Companies buy luxury suites.
I’d place Kansas City at 3rd or 4th in line, but it’s a big gap from 2nd to 3rd. I hope they get a team one year, but it should be a year taking place after Vancouver because, well, when was the last time you saw a rally to bring a team to Kansas City?
NBA expansion cities: Seattle
Ok. This is the tough one. The only reason I’d choose Vancouver over Seattle is because I live in Vancouver and not Seattle. Full stop, truth bomb, for really real: What happened to the SuperSonics hurt everyone in the basketball community, and it is a hurt which still exists.
Plus, well, the Bring Back Our Sonics movement is huge and I’m afraid they’ll send agents over the border to assault me.
My proposal is to bring a team back to Seattle and Vancouver at the same time. This would restore the infamous I5 rivalry–seen strongest in MLS–and right the biggest wrongs of the NBA against their fans in one shot.
NBA expansion cities: Are Seattle and Vancouver too close?
I’ve heard it before, and it’s usually written like this:
“BuT THEy ArE So CLOSe TOGetHeR?!!!
I AM A MArKEt EXPerT and ThAt’s bE BAAAAd!! REEEEEEE!!!!”
So? The Lakers and Clippers are closer together. The Knicks and Nets are closer together. In fact, Seattle and Vancouver are 230 kilometers apart in driving distance. That’s further apart than:
- Sacramento to San Francisco: 141 kilometers
- Chicago to Milwaukee: 149 kilometers
- New York to Philadelphia: 152 kilometers
- Philadelphia to Washington DC: 225 kilometers
Those are just the shorter distances, there are others which are nearly the same by a few dozen kilometers.
Raw distance not the only factor with NBA expansion cities
The raw distance isn’t the only factor as there’s a border you have to go through, which extends many trips from Vancouver to Seattle to the 5 hours of driving mark. This makes it a longer trip than many, many teams in terms of fan travel time to see a home team. Even Dallas to Oklahoma City can be done in under 4 hours.
Furthermore, the Vancouver and Seattle markets wouldn’t be competing at all:
- A Vancouver NBA team would be competing for views with teams in Canada.
- Seattle would be competing with teams in the Northwest.
That border is very much there and important. There’s not much of an argument here in regards to market competition when you consider that Texas (29 million), one state, has three NBA teams while the entire Pacific Northwest (18.7 million) only has Portland…
With NBA expansion talks ongoing, you’re going to hear more and more from those of us on the west coast. Want to see more of what I have to say on this overall? See why I think Vancouver is ready for NBA expansion.