Given the good reception of my previous post, "Could the MLB Return to Montreal?", I will be making the post into a series. Given the forthcoming move of the Houston Astros to the AL West, leaving each league with 15 teams it seems like a question of when, not if, the league will expand to 32 teams. Additionally, the ballpark situation in several cities, namely Tampa and Oakland, makes it likely that some team movement will occur in the not too distant future.
In this series, I will explore the factors that would permit, or prevent, a team from moving to the city; metro area size relative to the rest of the league, local economy and resident income, potential ownership groups (local if possible) and potential stadiums along with funding sources that may be needed to build or renovate a park to MLB standards. Using these factors I will attempt to answer the question of whether or not the city would be a suitable market for an MLB franchise.
As a base list for what cities will be included I will be using the list of proposed relocation sites that were considered when the Expos were being moved in 2004; San Juan, Monterrey, Portland, Charlotte, Norfolk and Las Vegas. In addition to these six, I will also explore the possibility of New Orleans, Indianapolis, San Antonio and another Canadian site, Vancouver, beginning with Vancouver. New York/New Jersey has been excluded from the series because there is no question of if they could support another team, they successfully supported 3 teams for over a half-century, the only question is if an ownership group would come forward that would be willing to foot the astronomical costs associated with paying for a relocation settlement with the Yankees and Mets in addition to buying the team and building a stadium.
Over the next 2-3 months I will make one post per week, each exploring the possibility of one city becoming home of an MLB team. At the end of the series I will also include a wrap-up post where the cities are ranked 1-11, based on each factor explored in their post as a potential destination, and declare an "ultimate winner", the city with the best combination of factors conducive to supporting an MLB team.
For reference, unless stated otherwise, all the stats on city size will come from here, and median household income will come from the national census bureau of the appropriate country.