Should Baltimore have an NBA team?
Some sport and civic-minded folks have put up this petition to bring an NBA team to Baltimore and at the moment they’ve got 31 of the 1000 signatures they’re looing for. In the afterglow of perhaps the most thrilling NBA finals of the millennium, it seems like a great idea, so I ask you, do you want an NBA team in Baltimore? Of course you do! Sort of. A little bit. Do you have money to buy tickets to 41 home games a season with 18,000 of your friends at $50 a pop while still supporting the Orioles and Ravens? Hello? Still there? Great! And are you ready for a new tax on something to raise the quarter-billion dollars or so to build that shiny new arena? Then we’re in business! Or did you say no?
The truth is, other than a big money group lead by Chris Hansen and backed by a truckload of Microsoft money trying to bring a new club into Seattle, the NBA isn’t considering expansion. In fact, most of the buzz has been about NBA contraction. It ain’t easy for the little markets in the NBA. Since 2000, NBA clubs have relocated six times, and none of those teams have sniffed at Baltimore. If a club were to relocate, Seattle would have to be high on the list. They’ve got the money in place and the NBA tradition. I’d also put my money on Montreal, Austin or Vegas. The other big sports have avoided Sin City, but the gun-slingin’ NBA seems more than ready for prime time. If any of the big four was gonna make the move into Vegas, my money’s on the NBA.
I’d even put cities like Virginia Beach and Louisville ahead of Baltimore in the NBA derby. Virginia Beach’s metro area, including Norfolk and surrounding areas is about ¾ of a million people and they’ve got no pro team to route for. Louisville is also an up and comer with a massive basketball tradition and the proven ability to pack the fabulous Yum Center for college games.
Baltimore does have a great love of basketball. High school games in the city produce some of the best competition in the country and Baltimore has produced a lot of great NBA players. But in 2011, The Business Journal put Baltimore 47th on their list of cities ready for NBA ready teams behind Edmonton Alberta, home of nothing. They site poor television ratings for the NBA in the market and a lack of disposable income. I think they’re right. As much as I’d love to see an NBA team in Baltimore, I don’t see it happening. But who knows, maybe a thousand people signing the petition, which, while I’ve been writing this has gone up to…nope, still at 31, will convince the NBA to move on in. I’m going to go sign.
So in the comment section, tell us what you think. Can Baltimore support a team? And more importantly, what do you think we should call them? Should we stick with the bird theme? Should the name alliterate? I say yes to both! The Baltimore Bald Eagles! All players will have to shave their noggins. Alternatively I like the Baltimore Biscuit Eating Messiahs, but there’s a good chance I’m alone in that.