David Stern said recently that the league would look at the option of contraction if needed. But according to a study done by On Numbers via Biz Journals, 22 markets in the United States and Canada have the financial wherewithal to support new NBA teams.
Obviously that doesn't mean squat, because the league seems very happy with 30 teams and like I said, might even consider reducing that number if needed. But point is, the NBA could have a number of expansion -- or relocation -- options if needed. Fifty-seven non-NBA markets were evaluated in the study with cities like Las Vegas, Louisville, Seattle, Riverside-San Bernidino, Montreal and even Stamford, CT, leading the way.
What did the study conclude was a number needed to support an NBA team?
An NBA team, according to the study, requires an 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.
Now that's just market numbers only. Stern has repeatedly said Seattle would be a viable NBA city again, but there's a problem: It needs a new arena. Places like Stamford, San Bernidino and Richmond don't exactly have NBA-ready arenas for a team. But they could get one I'm sure, if they were looking at an NBA team expanding or relocating their way.
The league most definitely isn't going to expand any time soon, but the idea here is that the league can make it in a lot of different places. Right now, apparently it's not even in the biggest and best markets as the league claims it's losing some $300 million.
Think about that though: 22 cities out there have the financial standing to support a franchise. And yet Stern says contraction is an option. What's the problem here? Obviously there are issues to resolve and no professional league wants too many teams in a league because of the revenue splits, but if the league can supposedly support more instead of less, why in the world would contraction be on the table? Something must really be messed up.
That doesn't mean these are ideal markets, but it means that the NBA should be a very profitable business everywhere. Why it's not right now is what the players and owners have to figure out.