The 5 Best MLB Expansion Teams to Target


MLB’s last expansion occurred in 1998, but discussions about adding two teams to create a 32-team league are gaining momentum, particularly among the Best MLB Expansion Teams. This move could significantly boost fan engagement, improve scheduling and geographic balance, and stimulate economic growth in the selected cities, thereby enriching the landscape of American sports. Potential locations, including Las Vegas, which already has a new team, and Montreal, are being considered for expansion. Commissioner Manfred is aiming for an expansion plan by 2029, though challenges such as the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) need to be addressed first.

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The Next MLB Expansion Teams

While Major League Baseball hasn’t undergone true expansion since 1998, ongoing discussions revolve around adding teams. Back then, expansion fees stood at $130 million. Presently, estimates indicate a significantly higher price tag, possibly surpassing $2 billion, along with the added expense of constructing a new stadium. This begs the question: which cities are most poised to become part of this exclusive club?

1. Nashville

Nashville stands out as the premier choice among potential MLB expansion teams. With the successful introduction of the MLS team Nashville SC as an expansion franchise in 2020, the city has demonstrated its ability to support and sustain professional sports with both on-field success and substantial attendance figures. Notably, Nashville’s advantageous geographic positioning, situated approximately four hours away from the nearest Major League Baseball teams in Atlanta and Cincinnati, positions it as an ideal location for expanding the league’s reach.

Moreover, Nashville boasts a thriving baseball culture, as evidenced by its Minor League Baseball team consistently drawing the highest attendance in the nation. The city’s impressive market size surpasses that of several existing MLB cities like San Diego, Kansas City, Milwaukee, and Cincinnati. Additionally, with the continuous growth of its corporate sector, marked by the establishment of major headquarters by companies such as Oracle and Amazon, Nashville presents a robust economic landscape conducive to supporting a potential MLB expansion team. Plans for a baseball park adjacent to Nissan Stadium further underscore the city’s readiness to embrace professional baseball, with a proposed stadium in North Nashville offering a promising venue for future games.

2. Portland

Portland has made notable attempts to secure an MLB presence, having come close to relocating both the Montreal Expos in 2003 and the Florida Marlins in 2007. The initiative for MLB expansion in Portland is spearheaded by the Portland Diamond Project, with former Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson contributing financial support to the cause.

Distinguishing itself as the largest metropolitan area in the United States without an MLB team, Portland ranks as the 27th most populous city in the nation, surpassing the sizes of cities like Cincinnati, Kansas City, and Milwaukee, all of which currently host MLB franchises. The city’s baseball scene is further enriched by the presence of the Hillsboro Hops, a Minor League Baseball team affiliated with the Arizona Diamondbacks, drawing decent crowds at Ron Tonkin Field with historical average attendances hovering around 3,500. Portland’s fervent support for sports is evident through its MLS team, the Timbers, which boasts one of Major League Soccer’s most dedicated fan bases. Coupled with the passion for the Trail Blazers in basketball, Portland presents an environment where an MLB expansion team would undoubtedly flourish.

3. Las Vegas

Las Vegas, once devoid of major league sports teams until the arrival of the Golden Knights in the NHL in 2017, now stands as a prime candidate for MLB expansion. With its robust financial resources, the city possesses the means to facilitate the establishment of an MLB expansion team. The recent development of a $4 billion precinct has significantly bolstered Vegas’ prospects of securing an NBA expansion team, with investors also eyeing the city as a top contender for the next MLS expansion franchise.

However, the appeal of MLB expansion in Las Vegas extends beyond monetary considerations. The Las Vegas Aviators consistently draw capacity crowds at their home games, boasting the highest attendance figures in Minor League Baseball prior to the onset of COVID-19. The city’s sporting landscape has undergone a remarkable transformation, buoyed by the successes of the Golden Knights, the relocation of the Oakland Raiders to Vegas, and the relocation of the Aces from San Antonio. Las Vegas has evolved from merely a destination city into a bona fide sporting hub, with even Major League Baseball expressing interest in establishing a presence in the city. Reports suggest that MLB was willing to ease the costs of relocation if the Oakland Athletics were to move to Las Vegas.

4. Charlotte

Charlotte stands out as a prime candidate for MLB expansion, distinguished by its robust sports landscape featuring NFL, NBA, and MLS teams, yet lacking an MLB franchise. The city’s rapid population growth further enhances its appeal among potential expansion cities, showcasing its vibrant and growing community eager to embrace professional sports.

The recent entry of Charlotte FC into MLS in 2022 marked a significant milestone, drawing record-breaking attendance of over 73,000 fans at their inaugural home match. This achievement underscores Charlotte’s fervent support for sports and solidifies its position as a promising location for MLB expansion. With its thriving population, passionate sports culture, and demonstrated enthusiasm for professional athletics, Charlotte presents a compelling case for MLB to consider as it weighs its expansion plans.

5. Montreal

Montreal emerges as a top contender among potential MLB expansion teams, particularly since the Blue Jays became the sole Canadian MLB team in 2005. Boasting a metro population of four million, Montreal garners favor among potential owners eyeing expansion opportunities. The city’s only major league sports competition comes from the Canadiens of the NHL, leaving ample room for baseball to thrive.

The Montreal Expos, an MLB expansion franchise from 1969 until their relocation to Washington in 2004, faced challenges securing funding for a new stadium. Despite this setback, Montreal’s sizable market and considerable distance from the Red Sox and Blue Jays, both over 300 miles away, present an enticing prospect for MLB expansion. Moreover, the proposal to split the Tampa Bay Rays’ games between Tampa and Montreal further fuels interest in bringing MLB back to Montreal.

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The potential expansion of Major League Baseball (MLB) to include new teams is generating excitement and anticipation across the sports landscape. With discussions gaining momentum and several cities vying for consideration, the prospect of welcoming new franchises promises to invigorate American sports. From established contenders like Nashville and Portland to emerging markets like Las Vegas, Charlotte, and Montreal, each city offers unique advantages and enthusiastic fan bases ready to embrace MLB. As discussions progress and plans take shape, the addition of new teams has the potential to enhance fan engagement, promote economic growth, and further enrich the tapestry of American sports.

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