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What Is The Proper Reason To Move A Franchise?

on Friday, 09 December 2016. Posted in Back Sport s Page Question Of The Day!

Back Sports Page Question of The Day 12/9

What Is The Proper Reason To Move A Franchise?

Every Week Back Sports Page asks Five Questions to staff and experts. The questions and answers are posted throughout this week on Backsportspage.com.

This week we put the focus around the world of sports!! Check out BSP for this week’s questions We have multiple Back Sports Page Contributors to give their insights to our questions.

Here is Today's Question:

What is a proper reason to move a franchise?

Matt Berkson (Back Sports Page): There is never an ideal or “proper” reason to move a franchise. Sometimes it might seem to make “sense” to do so, but every franchise I can remember having moved cities did so because they were going to profit more from the new city, and that is the opposite of what I believe in when it comes to sport. Maybe I’m too altruistic, but to me the best thing about sports, and life overall, is when passion leads the way. However throughout society, and especially from any franchise owner’s perspective, it is money that is the driving force behind any action they take – Especially when it comes to moving a franchise. Even when a city has a small fan base or is even losing money, there are always some fans who are hurt when a franchise is moved, not to mention the hurt is puts on local businesses who thrive on game day.

The Atlanta Thrashers are a great example to use when debating franchise relocation. The truth is that Atlanta is a poor sports town and even worse when it comes to hockey. Yet the NHL rewarded them with an expansion franchise in order to pocket the 80 million expansion fee in 1999. Once again money, as opposed to passion, was the sole driving force behind that decision, and as a result the Thrashers moved to Winnipeg in 2011. Is Winnipeg a much better hockey market with more passionate fans than Atlanta? Absolutely. In fact they lost the Jets back in 1996 to Phoenix which was a growing city at the time.

The point here is that the NHL shouldn’t have allowed the Winnipeg Jets to move originally nor award a franchise to Atlanta. If anything it should’ve just awarded an expansion franchise to Phoenix, but they should only do so when the passion is there from the local citizens. To wit – The NHL just took 500 million to award Las Vegas their first pro franchise the Golden Knights, to start play in fall 2017. Vegas certainly has the population and money to support a pro sports team, but will they have the passion? That remains to be seen, but we have good reason to be skeptical when the only reason the NHL did so was 500 million.

Anthony Zurita (Back Sports Page): The only legitimate reason to move a sports franchise is a lack of following. The fans really dictate if the franchise belongs in that area and it is pretty obvious whether they belong or not. If the seats are always filled: they love you. If the seats are constantly empty: maybe time to relocate. Personally I think the thought of moving the Raiders to Las Vegas is a travesty. You have the Raiders who are one of the most storied franchises in the NFL, who have fans that are equally as legendary and iconic to the league. I really can't believe that Mark Davis, hideous haircut and all, wants to take away the Raiders from the Black Hole, and of all places Las Vegas? Sure people care who wins those games because there is almost always money on the line but the thought of that stadium being filled by fans in Las Vegas is ridiculous. Vegas' transient environment will make sure that not too many people will be devoted fans because as everyone knows there is a lot more to do in Vegas than go to a football game.

Ryan Morilk (Beast Of The East Sports): If a franchise cannot bring in attendance, they should consider moving - especially if they are playing in an area with several sports teams. If a city has at least three professional teams, and one of them can't bring in attendance, they should consider moving. But a lot of cards have to be played right.

Danielle McCartan (Pro Sports Review): A proper reason to move a franchise is when the city in which it plays can no longer afford to host a team. I disagree with the Rams' decision to leave St. Louis, however, I wholeheartedly support the Raiders' move to Las Vegas. The Rams cited poor attendance as one of their main reasons for relocation. If the Rams organization had a good product on the field, the stadium would be filled, as it is the only football team within hours of its location. "If you build it, they will come." The Raiders are a different story. The facility in which they play is outdated, its structural integrity issues are well-documented, and the city of Oakland cannot afford to build a new stadium for the team. Las Vegas can and has all but started digging in the desert sand.

Eric Webb (Back Sports Page): I think the only proper reason to move a franchise is if the fan support for the organization has decreased over the years and you have a valid reason to believe the organization will gain fans in its new location. The fans should always be the priority in making such a move.

Steve Saunders (Back Sports Page): My initial reaction was none. Ever. Under any situation. But after searching my brain and extending my creativity I've come up with a few

1. Natural disaster. This doesn't mean something that decimates your home city but completely erases it like a sinkhole devouring your entire Jacksonville metropolitan area or an earthquake sending California floating into the ocean and ultimately sinking

2. Escaping nuclear fallout. This is a tricky one because you ought not abandon your city in their time of need but also opposing teams shouldn't be risking cancer to compete against you

3. Your state has left the United States and there is a strict embargo prohibiting any city in that new nation from hosting a team

4. A mutual breakup. You've been together for however many years but it's just not working out. You take your city out for a medium-fancy dinner (because who are you trying to impress) and each decide it's best to see other cities. Similarly, if you have caught your city cheating on you with other teams on a few occasions. They say they'll change, they never change

5. You play in Detroit

Nicole Monque (That's What She Says Sports):To some fans I don’t know if it’s ever “proper” but the bottom line these owners are about putting butts in the seats and making money.  So if they want a new stadium and the  city their currently in won’t budge then it’s time to go to plan B or plan C.  Truly the right way to do it is to give the fans notice – don’t sneak out in the middle of the night and don’t let ESPN break the news that the team is leaving.  Let the fans get a say or at least a heads up that their team is relocating – they deserve THAT much.

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