Five Potential Cities for NBA Expansion

By Eli Yankelevich


The Queen City is already a highly consolidated sports market. With franchises such as the Reds and the Bengals, there is still room to tap into professional basketball. Cincinnati is the 28th biggest market in the country with a metropolitan area that stretches to Dayton. Although the population of central Cincinnati is relatively small, the greater region is home to over two million people. This potential market size is comparable to cities like Charlotte, Orlando, San Antonio, and Denver.

Columbus (Ohio)

Even though the population of greater Columbus is relatively smaller than that of Cincinnati, the same reasoning applies. With the 32nd largest market in the country, Columbus has been left out regarding the conversation of professional sports. This needs to change. In 1990, Central Columbus was home to 638,000 people, and by 2016 the city grew to 860,000. Recent surveys suggest that in ten additional years the city will surpass one million in central population and eventually become the most populous city in the midwest behind Chicago and greater Detroit. Columbus has a rich sports history even without the league’s presence. The Buckeyes have received nothing but admiration and steady profit during their everlasting competitive tenure.


One of the greatest mid-western gems that is still somewhat available is Pittsburgh. Steel City is rich with history and professional pedigree. The Pirates have long prospered there with the Steelers. Not to mention the recent success of the Penguins. With the 22nd largest market in the country, Pittsburgh has enough of a fanbase to become the second basketball city of Pennsylvania. Plus, with the recent refurbishment of PPG Paints Arena, the infrastructure is already in place.

Kansas City

The Jazz Capital of the World has been the long term home of the Chiefs and the Royals. With the expansion of the Sprint Center already mandated, it only seems fitting to bless the bustling community of Kansas City with a professional basketball team. Kansas City was once the base of operations for the Kings, who now play in Sacramento. The difference is that Kansas City back then was a struggling market, but now with its multi-million population, a different story can be told.

Mexico City

We have one in Canada, don’t we? Aside from a language barrier what else is stopping this from being reality? Logistically speaking, the travel isn’t that far apart from the Knicks traveling to the Lakers. Plus, with how the season is laid out, the Knicks would play the Hornets and Rockets first. Travel wouldn’t be as direct. The idea of international expansion has already commenced with the recently successful NBA international games. This idea could help bring the league closer to being a trillion dollar industry because Mexico City is the 8th largest market in the WORLD. With a metropolitan population of over twenty million, the league would definitely garner more latin viewership than ever before possible. The only other American markets comparable to Mexico City are Los Angeles and New York City. Both are quite successful amongst the public eye.


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