Best U.S. Cities Without Pro Sports Teams
College sports are fun, and NASCAR is well, fast, but there’s nothing quite like attending a professional game of one of the four major sports. Unfortunately for most of the country, there are only 12 cities (Boston, New York, Minneapolis, Dallas-Fort Worth, Miami, Chicago, Denver, Philadelphia, Detroit, Phoenix, San Francisco/Bay Area and Washington, D.C.) in the U.S. that have a hometown team in the NBA, MLB, NFL and MLB in one metropolitan area.
Other towns like Cleveland, Cincinnati, Atlanta, Seattle and Los Angeles have multiple teams, but are currently missing one franchise out of the four major sports. There are even a lot of cities that don’t even have one at all – and they should.
Of all the team-less cities, Austin probably tops the list.
One of the most populated U.S. cities (11th in population according to U.S. Census results that were released in 2013), Austin was dubbed as the country’s No. 1 “boomtown” because of its relatively low cost of living and thriving job market. Austin is hip (think South-By-Southwest, tight pants and beard transplants) and it already basically supports a pro team with the University of Texas Longhorns already in town.
If the Nets can survive in Brooklyn with the Knicks playing right next door in Manhattan, there’s certainly reason to believe that folks in Austin could support a pro team, even with UT right there. It may actually end up being an MLS squad; baby steps….
Although the potential for having a gambling scandal may have prevented Las Vegas from landing a pro team in the past, loosened stances on gambling around the country may be paving the way for a team to head to the desert.
The city’s tendency to attract nomads might stop a solid fan base from developing, but the potential to make money hand-over-first may end up being too much to turn down. A stadium equipped with slot machines, roulette wheels and poker tables would surely attract curious customers — and just consider the potential for really, really, good halftime shows.
The dream may soon become a reality.
Late last year, former UNLV/NBA basketball player and businessman Jackie Robinson announced the Cuningham Group’s plan to begin building the $1.3 billion All Net Arena and Resort during spring 2014. The 27-acre, four-level arena, which is due to be completed in 2016, will contain 75 luxury boxes suites seating accommodations for 22,000 basketball fans and 21,600 hockey enthusiasts.
For fans that can’t wait, the Las Vegas Neon of the World Team Tennis League will begin play this summer.
Last, but certainly not least, the former home of the Whalers, Hartford, needs their team back.
Need a reason? Here:
“Brass Bonanza” was silenced in 1997 when the franchise was moved down south and became the Carolina Hurricanes. The Whalers moved to Hartford in 1974 and were basically an institution in town. The next time you talk to someone from Connecticut who lived in-state during the 23 years the team was in town, just ask about the Whalers and watch their eyes light up. National champs or not, not even the UConn Huskies – men or women – get that response.
According to Connecticut Governor Dannell Malloy, the state is certainly open to a pro team returning to Hartford and he’s spoken with “at least two groups” about the possibility of that happening.
“In the last six months, I have been contacted by several groups who are interested in knowing, should they acquire a team and win the rights to move that team, would we be interested in competing for that team,” Malloy said in late December. “I have indicated time and time again that we would be interested, though probably not at our sole expense.”
Hopefully Malloy can make it happen. The team moved 17 years ago this coming Sunday, April 13, and “That Day” still lives in infamy. If the team does return, they’ll be welcomed back with open arms and they won’t even have to set up a Facebook page…
Evan Bleier is a freelance writer based out of wherever he can plug in his laptop. You can send him questions, comments and Buffalo wing suggestions @itishowitis or "like" CraveOnline Sports on Facebook
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