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Major League Baseball looks to expand outside of USA borders

Posted by Betonline team on 4/27/2016 6:15:48 AM
Philadelphia fans give city another black eye

Major League Baseball must resolve stadium issues in Tampa and Oakland first. After that, look for the league to expand by two teams in the not too distant future.

MLB currently has a scheduling nightmare with two 15-team leagues. The problem is one team is always playing outside its division and it is possible for one team to have a slightly tougher draw during the regular season than other division foes. One more team in each division solves those problems.

“Four work better than fives from a scheduling perspective – significantly better,” Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred told the Associated Press Sports Editors in New York recently. “So that obviously would be a helpful change in that regard if we were to expand.”

Manfred hinted that expansion could come outside the 48 contiguous United States, meaning Mexico and Canada are in the mix. How about this one as a wild card? President Obama recently restored diplomatic relations with Cuba. Maybe a team in Havana is in the cards.

Currently, the Toronto Blue Jays are the only team playing in Canada in the MLB. Outside of hockey, Toronto is the only city with professional teams outside the US with the Blue Jays and Toronto Raptors. Montreal and Vancouver hosted teams many years ago.

Here are possible expansion cities.

Montreal:
The Expos played here from 1969 until 2004 when the franchise moved to Washington D.C. The 1995-95 players strike crippled the financially strapped team and it never recovered after failing to secure a new stadium. Former Expos outfielder Warren Cromartie has spearheaded a drive to bring baseball back and Manfred admits to meetings with city officials.

Mexico City:
The city has a population of 20.9 million, which makes it the largest city in North and Central America. Last month the Houston Astros and San Diego Padres played exhibition games which drew large crowds. The other positive is baseball will draw from a growing Hispanic fan base.

Here are the problems. Crime and corruption is a huge problem in Mexico and the average household income is $13,085 per year compared to $41,355 in the United States. Could people afford to attend games?

Charlotte: This is the largest United States city without an MLB team with 10 million living in the metro area. The NFL’s Carolina Panthers does well in ticket sales but the NBA’s Hornets do not. However, this is an expanding city with the banking business doing well.

The Triple-A Charlotte Knights led minor league attendance the past two seasons in their 10,200-seat stadium. Havana, Cuba: Why not? Some of the older Cubans in Miami do not like it but Cubans love baseball and is now on the radar in the United States as a tourist destination.

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