MLB hasn’t tried to hide the fact that it wants to add two teams — and another group is pitching a city and a concept.
A group led by former NBA executive Pat Williams is looking to start a team in Orlando, a pitch including a $1.7 billion stadium funded in part by $975 million from tourist taxes. The group, which calls the proposed team “The Dreamers,” also wants to build 1,000 hotel rooms adjacent to the stadium.
Williams has already helped launch another major team, the Orlando Magic, who joined the NBA in 1989.
Orlando, a two-hour drive from the Tampa Bay Rays in Saint Petersburg and three-and-a-half from the Miami Marlins, will look to draw more fans — where both rival markets have failed.
The Rays and Miami Marlins were respectively 28th and 29th in average home game attendance last year. The Marlins remain 29th this season, while a dominant start to the season has helped the Rays climb to 25th.
Orlando isn’t alone in pitching a new MLB city. A group led by retired pitcher Dave Stewart has been pushing a new team in Nashville. The minority-led group, which plans to name the team the Stars after the city’s Negro Leagues team, claims to have received positive signs from MLB commissioner Rob Manfred.
A group in Salt Lake City is also angling for a team. Charlotte, Portland, and Montreal are often mentioned as potential expansion sites.