Contraction? Why are we talking about contraction?
(Well, we’re talking about it because it’s good bargaining leverage so David Stern keeps it alive. But that’s another issue for another day.)
For all the trouble the NBA is having in New Orleans and the threats of moving from Sacramento, there are plenty of other cities that could support an NBA team. The issue isn’t the number of teams, it’s a question of markets. Don’t take my word for it, take a financial expert’s.
There are 22 other cities in the United States and Canada that have the wealth to support an NBA team but don’t have one, according to The Business Journal’s On the Numbers blog (via Eye on Basketball).
An NBA team, according to the study, requires (a total personal income) base of $34.2 billion for adequate support. Twenty-two open markets are above that threshold, earning perfect scores on a 100-point rating scale.
Seattle, for example, has TPI of $176.1 billion. Its baseball, football and soccer teams need a combined base of $137.5 billion, leaving $38.6 billion in available personal income, more than enough for the NBA.
Seattle also has a great hoops fan base. What they don’t have is a state-of-the-art building, which is the same issue in Sacramento. The economics of professional sports has changed and the luxury boxes and expensive, corporate seats close to the action are the big revenue drivers now.
The league is not going to expand, but it’s not going to contract either. Bet on it, Stern just wants it out there as a negotiating tactic. But it may be a question of markets. Why struggle in yours when there is a big city like Kansas City with an almost new Sprint Center that can take an NBA team right now?