6 cities that could support NBA teams

Posted on October 30, 2011 by


The other day I wrote a short post about six NBA cities that shouldn’t have NBA teams. Reader greyv knew exactly where I was headed with this, because now I’m going to look at six non-NBA cities that could support an NBA team.

A quick explanation of terms is at the bottom, because we know that everyone would rather get to the good stuff first!

6.  Austin, Texas

  • Metro Population: 1 716 289
  • 10 year Population change: +37.3%
  • Pro teams: 0
  • Total Personal Income: $66.9 Billion

Texas already has NBA teams in Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio. But Austin is growing very quickly, currently has no pro teams, and can pull people from surrounding areas like Houston, which is the 5th largest market in the US (in terms of total personal income). Like all of these cities, Austin also has the facilities to host NBA games.

Dre’s relocation recommendation – Let’s move the Bucks from Milwaukee here. Texas needs another talented injury prone international center!

5. Las Vegas

  • Metro Population: 1 951 269
  • 10 year Population change: +41.8%
  • Pro teams: 0
  • Total Personal Income: $69.3 Billion

It should be no surprise that the host of the 2007 NBA All-Star weekend is on this list. Like many cities, the area has suffered a bit during the recession, but still boasts an impressive 10 year growth rate and has no other pro teams. If the NBA can get over the gambling issue, Vegas is exactly the kind market the NBA should enter.

Dre’s relocation recommendation – How about we move the Denver Nuggets here. If Devin is going to move my team I’d like to keep it within road trip distance of Colorado.

4. Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, Connecticut

  • Metro Population: 916 829
  • 10 year Population change: +3.9%
  • Pro teams: 0
  • Total Personal Income: $69.9 Billion

While the area doesn’t have as large of a population as current NBA cities, it’s very wealthy and doesn’t have any pro teams. It would be Connecticut’s first NBA team, and relatively close to New York City. Perhaps they could name the team after P.T. Barnum in some way? That’s all the Bridgeport knowledge this Canadian has.

Dre’s relocation recommendation – How about the Utah Jazz? The Jazz should be required to be in a city that has nothing to do with their name.

3. Montréal, Québec

  • Metro Population (2006): 3 635 571
  • 10 year Population change: +9.3%
  • Pro teams: 2 (and one CFL team :))
  • Available Personal Income: $83.0 Billion

Montréal is certainly a world-class city, and it has produced several relatively high-profile basketball players (Bill Wennington, Samuel Dalembert, Joël Anthony, and Juan Mendez come to mind). But everyone knows that Montéal is a hockey-town. Could the city that abandoned the Expos harbour an NBA team? The only way to know for sure would be to give it a shot.

Dre’s relocation recommendation  – How about the Minnesota Timberwolves?Canada needs some Love and the move isn’t that far.

2. Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, California

  • Metro Population: 4 224 851
  • 10 year Population change: +29.8%
  • Pro teams: 0
  • Total Personal Income: $125.8 Billion

Like Texas, California can support another NBA team, and the region around the impostor Ontario would be perfect. The Inland Empire has a very large income base and no pro teams. Bonus to (most) NBA fans and 28 of the NBA’s owners: the area is very close to LA, and would likely reduce the income bases of the Lakers and the Clippers, who have been exploiting their large income bases in very different ways.

Dre’s relocation recommendation – The Cleveland Cavaliers. With the Clippers improving thanks to Griffin’s amazing play we need another terrible team in California to take its place.

1. New York City

  • Metro Population: 18 897 109
  • 10 year Population change: +3.13%
  • Pro teams: 10
  • Available Personal Income: $587.3 Billion

I know what you’re saying: “New York? But it already has two teams!” Very true. But NYC is the biggest market in the US, and it’s not even close — its total personal income is nearly double that of LA, which is the second largest market. Look at that available personal income! New York could probably support several additional NBA teams, and it would help to make the NBA more balanced. In the past, the Knicks have been able to spend and spend with little consequence to their bottom lines. A couple more NBA teams in the city would bring the Knicks back towards the rest of the league.

Dre’ relocation recommendation – The New Orleans Hornets. Chris Paul wants to go to New York and he could do so without having to play with Melo!


  • “Metro Population”: the population of the Metropolitan Statistical Area.
  • “Pro teams”: the number of NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, and MLS teams in a city.
  • Total personal income(TPI)”: the sum of all money earned by all residents of an area in a given year. Using team revenue data and average ticket prices one can calculate amount of TPI needed to adequately support a team in each north american professional sports league.
  • Available personal income(API)”: simply TPI less the cost it takes to support the city’s pro teams. Minimum income bases were estimated (see linked article) to be $85.4 billion for MLB, $37.6 billion for the NHL, $36.7 billion for the NFL, $34.2 billion for the NBA, and $15.4 billion for MLS. If API is positive, it means that you are good to go for a franchise. If API is negative, then you really need to figure out where you are going to move your team. Only teams in the NFL, MLB, NHL, NBA and MLS are counted for this calculation.
  • “Win/Loss Record”: win-loss record, which includes winning percentage
  • “Playoff Appearances”: the number playoff appearances divided by the number of years in the NBA

– Devin

Coming tomorrow – Arturo batting clean up provides the ultimate article on NBA teams and the cities that deserve them.

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