Wednesday December 6, 2023

MLB Expansion Suitors Grow, Even Without Formal Process

  • Montreal, Raleigh amplify their pitches for new MLB team
  • Still-undefined league process expected to take shape, accelerate soon
Kevin Sousa-USA TODAY Sports
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While there isn’t yet a definitive process for MLB expansion — and the league is currently focusing on its new-look postseason — that isn’t stopping potential candidate cities from being more vocal about becoming one of the chosen markets.

The expected completion of new stadium deals for the Tampa Bay Rays and Oakland A’s will satisfy long-stated requirements by MLB commissioner Rob Manfred and predecessor Bud Selig to consider adding new teams. In recent days, both Montreal and Raleigh, North Carolina, have become the latest cities to restate their desire for an expansion club. 

Montreal had the Expos from 1969-2004, and a new report from a Quebec radio station suggests the league will accelerate its expansion efforts within 12-to-18 months thanks to renewed MLB interest. The Canadian city is particularly leaning on its metro-area population of more than 4.3 million — far larger than any other MLB expansion candidate.

Carolina Hurricanes owner Tom Dundon told the North Carolina Sports Network that he wants “to try to bring another major asset to North Carolina” on the heels of completing a new lease and redevelopment plan for the NHL team’s PNC Arena. 

“I know I’m biased, but I think Raleigh is the best place in the country for a new MLB team,” Dundon said. “And when I say that, I think we have the facts to back that up.”

The pair joins other cities including Nashville, Salt Lake City, Charlotte, Orlando, and Portland in either making preliminary pitches or being discussed as potential candidates.

The new clubs are poised to bring at least several billion dollars in new money into MLB, and Dundon didn’t flinch when asked about a potential $2.2 billion price tag for an expansion franchise. “Sounds reasonable,” he said. 

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