A bigger NBA? Which cities could have a franchise?
By 2024, the NBA plans to increase the number of competing teams. Which cities will have the best basketball in the world?
LatinAmerican Post | Santiago Gómez Hernández
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Leer en español: ¿Una NBA más grande? ¿Qué ciudades podrían tener una franquicia?
The NBA plans to increase the number of participating teams. For 2024, when the signed television rights end, an increase in the number of franchises is contemplated. Currently, there are 30 teams, but an increase has been considered, possibly of 2 more teams.
There are several candidate cities to receive and host this new basketball team, but with only 2 vacancies, the possibilities are limited. These are the cities that will compete to host the next NBA teams:
The capital of the state of Washington is the main candidate to have its professional basketball team. Qualities and elements in favor, it several. First, it is the most populous metropolis in the United States without even having an NBA team. Second, it is a city that loves sports: the Mariners (MLB), the Seahawks (NFL), the Sounders (MLS), the Kraken (NHL), and the Storm (WNBA) play here.
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Previously, the city had been the home of the Supersonics until 2008, when the franchise moved to Oklahoma under the name "Oklahoma City Thunder."
The second candidate to start at the top is to enter the select group of cities with professional men's basketball. This city is recognized for being the center of events of high sporting interest. It is the world capital of boxing and combat sports. Additionally, it has the necessary infrastructure and investment to host a new NBA franchise. Currently, it is the home of the Raiders (NFL) and the Golden Knights.
After Seattle, San Diego is the city with the largest population without an NBA team. But it is not only this, it is also the only one without having American Football, Soccer, or Hockey. The only pro-size team is the Padres after the Chargers moved to Los Angeles in 2017.
This border city is an important market since it can also attract the public from Tijuana and a large part of the Mexican fanatic.
Another possibility is to be able to give them headquarters outside the United States. A clear example is the Toronto Raptors. The Canadian team has a tradition dating back to 1995 when the NBA gave franchises to two cities in the northern country. Precisely, the other city that at the time received the NBA was Vancouver. The Grizzlies were home to Canada until 2001 when they moved to Memphis.
Since then, only Toronto offers top-flight basketball in Canada. A slightly further possibility is that by 2024 another Canadian city will host the NBA. The two options are Vancouver and Montreal. The Pacific coast city already knows what it's like to host the NBA, but it didn't have a good experience, as due to financial problems they moved to Memphis, Tennessee. Likewise, it is a close city in distance, since it borders the United States and is only 2 hours from Seattle. Additionally, it has already shown that it has the necessary infrastructure for the NBA.
The other option is Montreal. The second most populous city in Canada. This metropolis represents a market of 4 million people, not including the rest of the community of the province of Quebec. It also has a stadium suitable for a franchise.
The constant dream of Latinos. An expansion to the Mexican capital still seems remote, but the characteristics that Mexico City offers are unique. A city of more than 9 million inhabitants (the largest in North America), but with a metropolitan area of more than 20 million. An NBA team would represent a challenge for the organization and for the other teams. However, for several years lobbying has been carried out to include Mexico in the NBA. For example, it serves as an exhibition venue for the G League, and it is planned to give a team in this category. In addition to the fact that since 1992 it has been the venue for sporadic NBA matches, either preseason or official, either at the Mexico City Arena or at the Palacio de Los Deportes.