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RIKMAN

Could Baltimore support an NBA team?

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Heard on the news this morning some local politician discussing the ability of the Clippers to come to Baltimore. While I can't see that ever happening...with the rabid sports fans in this town, the move of UMD basketball to the unconnected Big 10 and the demise of indoor soccer... I been wondering if this town and the surrounding burbs could/would support an NBA team here? 

 

If a new arena were built, I think it could fly.

 

 

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Doubt it. Baltimore residents as a whole doesn't have that kind of income and Baltimore doesn't have the population to support another franchise. I suppose it's possible like me scoring a date with Eva Mendes, but not likely

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"The 1973 Eastern Conference Semifinals was the last of the Baltimore Bullets. Abe Pollin was unimpressed with the team's attendance and the Civic Center, as well as wanting the team to be closer to his hometown of Washington."

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I've never heard anyone say that they wish Baltimore had a basketball team. I'm certainly not trying to present this as a representation of the metro area's interests. but I've lived here most of my life. furthermore, I live with, socialize with and work with sports fans who are very dedicated to the Ravens & O's. sports as a whole, are a regular conversation in my world. I would think that I would have heard an undercurrent of interest in the idea.

 

the same goes for hockey. I know lots of Caps fans. not one of them has ever said that they wish we had our own team. like Ken mentioned, there are economic factors that would make it difficult. but at the basic level of the City's interest, I've just never seen any passion for the idea.  

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The city is part of the 4th largest mega-tropolis in the country.  The state has the highest median income in the country.  Even Harford County is in the nation's top 50 counties in terms of median income.  I think local folks are somewhat blind to how "well off" the area is compared to most of the rest of the country. 

 

Why folks continue to think that the market couldn't support an NBA team financially is puzzling to me. Oklahoma City has an NBA team.  New Orleans has an NBA team.  I firmly believe that an arena built in a convenient location for quick egress after a weeknight game (near the I-95 / I-695 junction south of the city) would have every bit as much chance of being successful as teams in a lot of other markets.  Hell, Detroit is about as economically depressed a market as you'll find anywhere in the country, and supports 4 major league franchises.  Cleveland is a smaller market with less local economic capital, and supports 3 major league franchises.  Milwaukee.  I could name more.

 

Really, next time you shrug off the idea of the Baltimore market being capable of supporting an NBA franchise... consider the many other smaller / less wealthy markets that currently do... and some also have other major league teams to fund as well. 

 

Put the right building in the right place, market well, build corporate partnerships with any of the hundreds / thousands of big businesses within a 75 mile radius, and put a competitive team on the floor... and I think you'd be surprised at what could be created here.  And NBA fans are as fickle / front-running (if not more) as any other sport... so between the prospect of having a contending team with some marquee players, and the "road draw" that comes to see the stars on other marquee teams, I highly doubt the prospect of unsold tickets that many seem to expect.  Not saying it would be the league's model franchise by any means... but there's no reason why it's a simple impossibility.

Edited by Ravens2006

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The city is part of the 4th largest mega-tropolis in the country.  The state has the highest median income in the country.  Even Harford County is in the nation's top 50 counties in terms of median income.  I think local folks are somewhat blind to how "well off" the area is compared to most of the rest of the country. 

 

Why folks continue to think that the market couldn't support an NBA team financially is puzzling to me. Oklahoma City has an NBA team.  New Orleans has an NBA team.  I firmly believe that an arena built in a convenient location for quick egress after a weeknight game (near the I-95 / I-695 junction south of the city) would have every bit as much chance of being successful as teams in a lot of other markets.  Hell, Detroit is about as economically depressed a market as you'll find anywhere in the country, and supports 4 major league franchises.  Cleveland is a smaller market with less local economic capital, and supports 3 major league franchises.  Milwaukee.  I could name more.

 

Really, next time you shrug off the idea of the Baltimore market being capable of supporting an NBA franchise... consider the many other smaller / less wealthy markets that currently do... and some also have other major league teams to fund as well. 

 

Put the right building in the right place, market well, build corporate partnerships with any of the hundreds / thousands of big businesses within a 75 mile radius, and put a competitive team on the floor... and I think you'd be surprised at what could be created here.  And NBA fans are as fickle / front-running (if not more) as any other sport... so between the prospect of having a contending team with some marquee players, and the "road draw" that comes to see the stars on other marquee teams, I highly doubt the prospect of unsold tickets that many seem to expect.  Not saying it would be the league's model franchise by any means... but there's no reason why it's a simple impossibility.

good post. the market that you mentioned, does it include Mont. Co?

 

the reason I ask is because Mont. Co. accounts for a good portion of the wealth that is usually attributed to the metro area. and if that's the case with the numbers you are discussing, that could really skew the stats. those folks aren't going to drive up to Baltimore on a weeknight when they can hop on the metro and go see the Wizards. 

 

since new sports arenas are typically publicly funded, I see problems getting that project approved. personally, I would vote against it if it was put to a referendum. I'm pretty sure Carroll County would be 90+% opposed to it, since they're still complaining about having to pay for OPACY. I would be surprised if folks out in the panhandle would support it. I feel the same way about the folks on the other side of the Bay. neither of those areas will be able to attend weeknight games. all the folks I know from Harford Co. already don't like having to drive down to Baltimore to work, I can't imagine that they would make 2 round trips in a day (drive to work - drive home to pick up the family - drive back to the game and home again). it would all come down to how much of HoCo & Anne Arundel would choose Baltimore over the Wizards. 

so while I don't question that the statistics show that the money is present, I really question if the interest is present.  

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These are 2011 numbers ( For what it's worth, BRAC brought 10s of thousands of high-paying (MANY 6-figure) new jobs to the area, most of which SINCE 2011, in both the B-W corridor and Balt/Harford/Cecil counties, so I'm skeptical that many of these counties dropped significantly. 

 

5 Howard County Maryland $98,953

10 Montgomery County Maryland $92,909

11 Charles County Maryland $91,733

16 Calvert County Maryland $89,393

21 Anne Arundel Maryland $84,138

22 Carroll County Maryland $84,117

33 St. Mary's County Maryland $81,657

42 Harford County Maryland $78,123

43 Frederick County Maryland $77,791

69 Prince George's County Maryland $70,715
 

Personally, I think an arena south of the tunnels, near the I-95 / I-695 / I-97 "junction" area... would be ideal for ease of access to weeknight events.  Some ballpark drive times to the Landsdowne area... Grasonville (across the Bay Bridge) 45 mins... Upper Marlboro 35 mins...  National Harbor 60 mins in / 45 back at night...  Frederick 45 mins... Cecil County 45 mins... Harford County 30 mins... Gaithersburg 60 mins in / 40-45 back at night... 

 

I know a lot of people "take the metro" to Chinatown in DC for games... but when you're done getting to the station, traveling on the metro with all the stops, etc., you're pretty much locked in to an hour of travel each way.  Unless you're already in close.  But the metro is used a lot because the alternative is almost unthinkable for a lot of folks.  Personally I always drive in to DC, I hate public transportation.  :)  But if everybody did the same, we'd never get to the event on time.  Baltimore-South traffic can be a pain, but it's nothing like downtown DC at rush times.

 

All that said, I doubt THE NBA would EVER let it happen (WAS and PHI would fight it)... so all this theory is really pointless :)... but I do think that a well-run, well-marketed franchise in a good building in the right location could do just fine here.

Edited by Ravens2006

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The city is part of the 4th largest mega-tropolis in the country.  The state has the highest median income in the country.  Even Harford County is in the nation's top 50 counties in terms of median income.  I think local folks are somewhat blind to how "well off" the area is compared to most of the rest of the country. 

 

Why folks continue to think that the market couldn't support an NBA team financially is puzzling to me. Oklahoma City has an NBA team.  New Orleans has an NBA team.  I firmly believe that an arena built in a convenient location for quick egress after a weeknight game (near the I-95 / I-695 junction south of the city) would have every bit as much chance of being successful as teams in a lot of other markets.  Hell, Detroit is about as economically depressed a market as you'll find anywhere in the country, and supports 4 major league franchises.  Cleveland is a smaller market with less local economic capital, and supports 3 major league franchises.  Milwaukee.  I could name more.

 

Really, next time you shrug off the idea of the Baltimore market being capable of supporting an NBA franchise... consider the many other smaller / less wealthy markets that currently do... and some also have other major league teams to fund as well. 

 

Put the right building in the right place, market well, build corporate partnerships with any of the hundreds / thousands of big businesses within a 75 mile radius, and put a competitive team on the floor... and I think you'd be surprised at what could be created here.  And NBA fans are as fickle / front-running (if not more) as any other sport... so between the prospect of having a contending team with some marquee players, and the "road draw" that comes to see the stars on other marquee teams, I highly doubt the prospect of unsold tickets that many seem to expect.  Not saying it would be the league's model franchise by any means... but there's no reason why it's a simple impossibility.

Oklahoma has 1 team, Nola has 2 ......

 

they also don't have 8 other major league teams in 100 circle from their downtown ......

 

it's not just the income of  the folks that live here but you need corporate money as well to buy the boxes and high end seats .......

 

Baltimore doesn't have that much corporate dollars .......

Edited by Eastside Terp

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I'd love to see what kind of support building a new arena in Baltimore would get. I'm guessing low and absolutely nill if there's no team  already in place to use it. To be honest I know more Steeler fans in Baltimore than NBA fans

Edited by bmore_ken

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I'd love to see what kind of support building a new arena in Baltimore would get. I'm guessing low and absolutely nill if there's no team  already in place to use it. To be honest I know more Steeler fans in Baltimore than NBA fans

same here. 

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Indoor soccer will be back next year, the old MISL teams will join the PASL which will have 20 teams.  I'd like to see the Wizards own part of a D League team either playing in Baltimore or Richmond.

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I be all for just changing the name of the Washington wizards to the Baltimore Bullets just because. No other reason.

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The closest Baltimore would get to a NBA team with this crappy arena would be if the Wizards ran a D-League team here.   I don't really think that would work, because there were two minor league hoop teams here, the Lightening of the CBA and the Bayrunners of the IBL that both failed.  More likely they would put it in Richmond.

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The closest Baltimore would get to a NBA team with this crappy arena would be if the Wizards ran a D-League team here.   I don't really think that would work, because there were two minor league hoop teams here, the Lightening of the CBA and the Bayrunners of the IBL that both failed.  More likely they would put it in Richmond.

That tells me that Baltimore has no interest in basketball. 

 

before the Orioles moved here, Baltimore had a couple successful Negro League teams and a couple different minor league teams. If I'm not mistaken, multiple minor league teams operated here at the same time. the CFL was really successful here as well. the Stallions were the only US team in the CFL to draw a profit. they were also the only US team to win the Cup.

 

these things suggest that the city had a passion for both baseball and football. it didn't matter if those teams played in the highest professional league, what mattered was that live baseball and football were available, and people showed up to watch it. Maryland has 6 successful minor league baseball teams...6. if all these teams can operate successfully, and one small time basketball team can't make it work in Maryland's biggest city, that's pretty telling. it has nothing to do with the arena.  

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That tells me that Baltimore has no interest in basketball. 

 

before the Orioles moved here, Baltimore had a couple successful Negro League teams and a couple different minor league teams. If I'm not mistaken, multiple minor league teams operated here at the same time. the CFL was really successful here as well. the Stallions were the only US team in the CFL to draw a profit. they were also the only US team to win the Cup.

 

these things suggest that the city had a passion for both baseball and football. it didn't matter if those teams played in the highest professional league, what mattered was that live baseball and football were available, and people showed up to watch it. Maryland has 6 successful minor league baseball teams...6. if all these teams can operate successfully, and one small time basketball team can't make it work in Maryland's biggest city, that's pretty telling. it has nothing to do with the arena.

On the money

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I'd love a new arena and an NBA or NHL franchise.  But in reality, I know it's a bad idea considering Baltimore's constant financial troubles.

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Could corporate Baltimore support an NBA franchise?  I would say yes if there were a new arena.  The everyday rank and file fans will come if the product is watchable.  The huge money comes from the corporations.

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Under Armor would be the best business to go after the Arena naming rights, also perhaps Aerotek, the company that Steve Biciotti founded or even Amazon.com since they are opening up a Fulfillment Center in the old GM Browning Plant.  The Capitals are looking for new ECHL affiliate city, but after they complained about the ice conditions during the preseason games at the Baltimore Arena, you can forget about it.  More likely Richmond, or one of the cities that will lose the Phantoms to Glens Falls.

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