It’s been a while since MLB last added expansion teams, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t MLB expansion team ideas brewing. The game remains incredibly popular and will always be considered the national pastime.

Sooner or later, there will be more MLB expansion teams. Of course, that begs the question of what MLB expansion rules new teams will have to follow and what cities are potentially on deck for an MLB expansion team?

MLB expansion team ideas

There is no shortage of potential MLB expansion cities. Keep in mind there are dozens of cities that have had minor league teams for a long time. There are also large cities that host other pro sports teams but don’t have an MLB franchise.

Also, let’s not forget that baseball has international appeal, which means future MLB expansion teams could be located outside of the United States. Keeping all of that in mind, here is our list of MLB expansion team ideas and a dozen cities that could be the future home of an MLB franchise.

Portland

MLB needs to add a second team to the Pacific Northwest. The Mariners have long been isolated from the rest of the league in Seattle and need a regional rival. Plus, Portland is an amazing city that loves sports more than most people realize.

 
 
 
 

The Trail Blazers have done well there for many years and both Portland’s MLS and NWSL teams have thrived, receiving plenty of fan support. Among West Coast cities, Portland has to be at the top of the list when it comes to finding a place for MLB expansion teams.

San Antonio

Both Houston and the Dallas area (Arlington) have MLB teams, so why can’t San Antonio have one too?

There’s no question that the state of Texas is big enough for three pro teams in one league. If the NBA can do it, there’s no reason why MLB can’t pull it off as well.

It’s not as if the Astros and Rangers rely on their San Antonio fanbase for support. There would be more than enough support for a major league team in San Antonio. Who knows, perhaps a third team in Texas could also give the National League a team in the Lone Star State again.

Austin

If San Antonio isn’t among the ideal MLB expansion cities, then perhaps Austin would be a better fit. While it’s not the biggest city in Texas, Austin is the capital and has a rather active and outgoing population.

Outside of a new MLS team, Austin is lacking a pro sports team. It’s a city that deserves a pro sports franchise, so if the NFL isn’t going to expand there, MLB should seize the opportunity and give Austin a team.

Charlotte

MLB expansion in Charlotte makes too much sense not to do at some point. The city’s triple-A team has always been among the attendance leaders in the minors, so it’s not hard to envision a major league team being able to survive there.

Much like the NFL’s Panthers, an MLB franchise in Charlotte could have a fanbase throughout the Carolinas, attracting an untapped market. Baseball is popular in that part of the country, but there are no teams between Washington and Atlanta, making MLB expansion in Charlotte an obvious option.

Orlando

Much like Texas, the state of Florida could surely handle a third MLB team. The city has a large enough population to support a baseball team that plays its season during a different time of year than the NBA’s Orlando Magic.

Also, central Florida is loaded with retirees who would either adopt the Orlando team as their own or support the visiting team from their former home. Plus, given the number of tourists who visit Orlando, an MLB franchise there would give visitors one more thing to do.

Of course, given everything else in Orlando, it would be easy to attract fans from visiting teams to games, so even if they aren’t going to see the home team, the Orlando franchise is still selling a lot of tickets.

Albuquerque

You probably won’t find Albuquerque high on the list of obvious MLB expansion team ideas, but it does make sense. The city is midway between Colorado and Phoenix, almost in no man’s land. The Albuquerque Isotopes have done well in the minors for many years and an MLB expansion team would probably help attract even more fans from New Mexico, western Texas, Oklahoma, and other places.

Keep in mind that much like Denver, the city of Albuquerque is at a high elevation, so there’s every chance games there would feature a lot of scoring, which would help attendance numbers even more. 

Mexico City

There is no question that potential MLB expansion cities will include some international locations. When MLB takes that step, Mexico City will surely be given consideration.

Geographically, it’s a little out of the way, even for teams in Southern California and Texas. However, Mexico City also has the largest population in North America. Fans would pack the stadium every night and help MLB continue to win over Latino fans.

Las Vegas

Things seem to be working out well for the NFL in Las Vegas, which means Sin City has to be at the top of the list of MLB’s expansion team ideas. Granted, there would be challenges because it’s hot there in the summer and there are a lot of other ways for people to spend their time.

However, much like a team in Orlando would attract both residents and tourists to games, Las Vegas would do the same. Plus, with the popularity of sports betting growing, Las Vegas is an increasingly likely destination for an MLB expansion team.

San Juan

With so many MLB players from the Caribbean and Latin America, MLB would be foolish not to at least consider putting a team in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The whole island would love to come out and support a major league franchise.

It’d also be interesting to see how eager all-star players, especially those from Puerto Rico, would be to sign with a San Juan franchise in free agency.

The amount of travel might complicate things a little, which is something to consider. But if MLB wanted to make a bold move and expand its footprint in a big way, an expansion team in Puerto Rico would be the way to do it.

Montreal

Baseball needs to return to Montreal, it’s as simple as that.

The city would surely embrace an expansion franchise all of these years after the Expos left, making it one of the most obvious MLB expansion cities. The only obstacle is building a new stadium. But if Montreal were willing to do that, putting an expansion franchise in Montreal makes too much sense not to explore.

Nashville

In many ways, Nashville is a city on the rise, so putting an MLB expansion franchise there seems like a natural fit. The city’s triple-A team does well in attendance and there is already an NFL team and an NHL team in the city.

Geographically, Nashville is smack in the middle between St. Louis, Cincinnati, and Atlanta, which means there is a huge area of baseball fans that don’t have a clear rooting interest. That problem could easily be solved with an expansion franchise in Nashville.

Vancouver

In terms of international expansion, don’t count out the western part of Canada. Vancouver is a great city that already has pro sports franchises and has a surprising interest in baseball. Much like Portland, a new team in Vancouver would provide a regional rival for the Mariners.

There are also plenty of current Mariners or Blue Jays fans who would immediately support an expansion team in Vancouver, making the city a natural fit.

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6 thoughts on “12 best expansion cities if MLB adds new franchises in the 2020s”

  1. Relocate the A’s to Austin to be in the same division as the Astros and Rangers. That will cut travel significantly for all. Expand to Portland and Las Vegas. Relocate the Rays to Montreal to be in the same division as the Blue Jays. Relocate the White Sox to Nashville (Chicago is a Cubs town). If the Royals, Orioles or Pirates are not willing to raise their payroll, then relocate them to Charlotte and other cities. Scott Boras says their is enough revenue to put a team in New Jersey. MLB should have a $100 MM payroll floor or if not then have penalties Luxury Low Ball Tax for teams that abuse the system. Any relocation needs to have a stadium in place and team at today’s payroll levels must be able to easily sustain a $150 MM – $175 MM payroll.

  2. Charlotte is optimal and for me, along with Montreal, are the favorites for expansion. I live in Charlotte, and there are some lots that look like they could be perfect for a baseball park. All the knights fans would LOVE to see a MLB team here, and Charlotte FC has proven just how well expansion teams do around here.

  3. Raleigh would fare better over Charlotte for an expansion team – Raleigh has more land opportunities for a stadium plus is a faster growing area. Yes, Charlotte has banking money, but the fact that the Carolina Hurricanes are here and are successful means that the Raleigh/Durham area could handle a MLB franchise. Plus, the Durham Bulls are the AAA heavy hitters (as opposed to the Charlotte Knights)

    1. Charlotte has MLS; NBA and NFL teams. It is the better choice of expansion over Raleigh. Proximity to SC is better in Charlotte too, which will allow a larger fan base to attend games.

  4. Athletics move to Las Vegas becoming the Las Vegas Athletics. Rays move to Orlando becoming the Orlando Rays. MLB’s new expansion teams: Nashville Sounds and Portland Pioneers. If the White Sox ever do leave Chicago, they should consider either Vancouver, Indianapolis or maybe even Salt Lake City as their new home.

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