A great sports city that has a proven record when it comes to supporting its pro franchises. We all know the Trailblazers have been around since the 70’s, but Portland truly impresses when it comes to the support of their MLS team, the Timbers. Semi-pro soccer has been in Portland a while as well, but after joining the league in 2011 fans immediately embraced the team. As of November 2013, the Timbers reeled off 50 consecutive sold out matches. Pretty remarkable considering the team didn’t qualify for the playoffs its first two years.
Portland has proven its worth. Throw in Oregon’s college football popularity, the Super Bowl champs just up the road and you have the perfect storm for a new NFL fan base. Oh, and its minor league hockey team just won their league championship. Stop it. Portland wins.
San Antonio, Texas
“Not another NFL team in Texas!” Understandable, but few cities are more deserving of another major franchise than San Antonio. Their lone pro team, the Spurs, have been exemplary over the last couple of decades. If you don’t go into hibernation during the football offseason you probably saw them claim their fifth NBA championship this past June.
The Spurs are great, but that doesn’t happen without a raucous, loyal fan base. Rumors are swirling that the NFL may relocate the Raiders and that San Antonio is a prime candidate. Even though it’s unthinkable to see the Raiders in any city but Oakland (those dozen years in Los Angeles, notwithstanding), San Antonio is the home of another black and silver legion of fans ready to pick up the torch.
The state of Virginia has the largest population among states without a major sports franchise. Of course, the Washington Redskins and Baltimore Ravens reside just across the border, but the people of this state deserve a team they can call their own. It’s almost comical when you look at the size of the state in comparison to Maryland and D.C. Norfolk is home to more than a quarter million residents and could easily support a budding NFL franchise. The fans are ready and willing.
No way on this one, right? College football will always be king in Alabama and there won’t be enough fans to support a pro team, right? Not so fast. The proof lies with the city’s Double A baseball team: the Birmingham Barons.
In an effort to raise ticket sales and get the club to return to downtown after 25 years in the suburbs, city officials voted to drop $50 million on a new stadium. Regions Field features 8,500 seats and the Barons notched double digit sellouts months before the stadium’s second season was in the books.
This was for minor league baseball, not to mention the city hosts one of the most popular stops on the IndyCar circuit as well! If a football state like Alabama will turn out in droves for minor league baseball and IndyCar, it’s a good bet they could do major damage if the NFL came to the Steel City. Rumor has it Birmingham may be in the initial stages of funding for the city’s first domed stadium. Never say never.