5 Cities that Might Be Up for an NBA Expansion Team


The NBA is ripe for expansion, and several cities are on the league’s radar. Each brings unique advantages, from economic clout to sports-crazed populations. Here’s a look at five contenders that could be next in line to host an NBA team.

Seattle: A Fervent Market Awaits Its Team

Seattle stands out as the largest U.S. media market currently without an NBA team. With over 2 million TV households and a metro population nearing 4 million, its economic and fan base potential is massive, boasting a GDP of $355 billion. The city is no stranger to basketball; the SuperSonics called Seattle home from 1967 until 2008. Since their departure, the local appetite for basketball hasn’t waned. The renovated Climate Pledge Arena, with a basketball capacity of 18,100 and a $1.15 billion price tag for renovation, is a clear signal of the city’s readiness for the NBA’s return.

Las Vegas: Betting Big on Basketball

Las Vegas, the 40th largest media market, already enjoys the limelight with successful franchises in the NHL and NFL. Its over 750,000 TV households and a metro population of more than 2.2 million people are testament to its sports scene. The city’s GDP of $128 billion supports its growing status as a sports hub. The T-Mobile Arena, capable of hosting 17,500 basketball fans, could soon be the home court for an NBA expansion team.

Mexico City: Tapping into a Massive Market

With a metro population exceeding 21.5 million, Mexico City is an untapped reservoir for the NBA. Its massive GDP of $411 billion underscores a burgeoning market, further highlighted by the city’s annual hosting of NBA regular-season games and its G-League team, the Capitanes. Basketball’s rising popularity in Mexico, fueled by stars like Juan Toscano-Anderson, makes Mexico City a compelling candidate for expansion.

Montreal: North of the Border Appeal

Montreal presents a strong case with its over 4 million residents and a $212 billion GDP. The city’s sports culture is rich, anchored by the iconic NHL team, the Canadiens. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver’s nod towards Montreal as a potential expansion site adds to the city’s allure. The Bell Centre, with a seating capacity of 21,288, could easily become the next NBA venue.

Vancouver: Ready for a Second Shot

Once home to the Grizzlies, Vancouver’s NBA dreams might see a revival. The city’s 2.46 million inhabitants and $136 billion GDP reflect a market capable of supporting an NBA franchise. The presence of the NHL’s Canucks shows the city’s sports enthusiasm. Rogers Arena, with a basketball setup for 19,700 fans, stands ready to welcome the NBA back.

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Other Economic Considerations

As the NBA considers these cities for expansion, the other dynamics of sports cannot be ignored. For example, with the league’s growth, interest in betting apps has surged, offering fans new ways to engage with the game. Whether you’re in Seattle or Montreal, the expansion could bring potential boon for the local economy and the sports betting industry.

Furthermore, introducing an NBA team to a new city extends economic benefits well beyond the court. Local businesses, from restaurants and bars to retail stores, could experience increased patronage on game days and throughout the season, contributing to job creation and economic growth. Additionally, the heightened interest in sports betting can stimulate the local and state economies by generating tax revenue from betting operations. This economic uplift is not confined to the direct sports-related sectors but can also enhance ancillary services, including hospitality, transportation, and entertainment, thereby fostering a more robust economic ecosystem around the sports franchise.

Summary: Prospective NBA Expansion Cities

  • Seattle:
    • Largest U.S. media market without an NBA team.
    • Nearly 4 million residents and a $355 billion GDP.
    • Climate Pledge Arena renovated for NBA use.
    • Historical NBA presence with the SuperSonics.
  • Las Vegas:
    • 40th largest media market with over 750,000 TV households.
    • Population over 2.2 million and a $128 billion GDP.
    • Successful NHL and NFL franchises.
    • T-Mobile Arena is ready for NBA action.
  • Mexico City:
    • One of the largest metro populations globally at over 21.5 million.
    • $411 billion GDP.
    • Annual NBA games and a G-League team presence.
    • Growing basketball popularity.
  • Montreal:
    • Over 4 million residents and a $212 billion GDP.
    • Strong sports culture with NHL’s Canadiens.
    • Mentioned by the NBA Commissioner as an expansion interest.
    • NBA-ready Bell Centre arena.
  • Vancouver:
    • Former NBA city with a population of 2.46 million and $136 billion GDP.
    • Strong sports market with NHL’s Canucks.
    • Rogers Arena can accommodate 19,700 basketball fans.
    • Potential for NBA return.

Each city offers unique strengths, from Seattle’s rich basketball history to Mexico City’s massive market potential. The decision ahead is about tapping into new markets, revitalizing cities, and expanding the NBA’s global footprint. The future of the NBA expansion looks bright, with these five cities leading the charge.