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Next MLB Expansion City Odds: Nashville Emerges as New Favorite

Adam Thompson for Bookies.com

Adam Thompson  | 5 mins

Next MLB Expansion City Odds: Nashville Emerges as New Favorite

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Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred and other stakeholders in the game believe the league can, and should, expand from 30 teams to 32 teams. It's been 25 years since the Arizona Diamondbacks entered the league in the last round of MLB expansion. 

With a chance of landing an MLB franchise, cities all over the country (and beyond) are interested in being part of the next MLB expansion. 

New MLB stadiums have been boons to cities around the country. Some teams, such as the Atlanta Braves, have created their own bustling communities around new stadiums. Metro areas – and billionaires who call them home – will clamor for a potential once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to add an MLB team. 

Bookies.com oddsmaker Adam Thompson has updated his hypothetical MLB odds on which cities have the edge in this race to open up MLB’s next frontier: 

Which Cities Are Most Likely To Get MLB Expansion Teams?

CityOddsImplied Probability
Nashville+17536.4%
Salt Lake City+35022.2%
Charlotte+50016.7%
Portland+65013.3%
Montreal+10009.1%
San Antonio+15006.3%
The Field+52516.0%

Odds are hypothetical and created by our Bookies.com handicapper. The odds take into account the fact that two cities are set to get new MLB teams. They do not reflect odds that may be available on legal betting apps.

MLB has no timeline on when expansion will occur. The first priority is to find better homes for the Oakland Athletics and Tampa Bay Rays before jumping into the expansion arena. The A's have announced their intentions to move to Las Vegas for Opening Day 2027

Tampa Bay still must also resolve its issue. Some of the cities without a team now could get the Rays, if relocation is the best option. 

Based on the number of billionaires initially interested in purchasing the Washington Nationals, who are currently for sale (or recently were, depending on who to believe), there is sure to be massive interest in two shiny new teams, when the time comes. 

Some cities have already begun preparing bids. Nashville, with a group led by former All-Star pitcher Dave Stewart, has a name picked out (the Nashville Stars). Portland, with its Portland Diamond Project, is actively preparing for when an MLB franchise next becomes available. 

In April, Big League Utah was formed by former Jazz owner Gail Miller in an effort to bring an expansion team to Salt Lake City.  

Charlotte consistently is among the leaders in minor league attendance and doesn’t have an MLB team. Queen City is also one of the faster-growing cities in the country and a business hub that could shell out a lot of sponsorship capital for a team. 

Among those four areas vying for a new team, Charlotte has the largest metro area at 2.7 million, 22nd in the nation. Portland (2.5 million) and Nashville (2.0 million) aren't far behind, while SLC is a bit further back (1.3 million) though its larger TV market isn't far off Portland's in size. But Charlotte appears behind those other cities in terms of preparation for a bid. 

Portland's estimated metro population shrunk in size from 2020 to 2021, while the other three top contenders grew. Charlotte's area grew by a whopping 40,000. 

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Now that sports betting has become part of the norm for pro sports leagues, Las Vegas has become a top choice for franchises. Political hurdles appear to have been cleared, so the Athletics are still poised to move to the desert starting in 2027. 

Vegas would have been in the running for an expansion team if the A's decided to go elsewhere. Taking it out of the picture for an expansion team improves the odds for the other favorites on the board. 

Texas has two teams but has an area big enough to take on another. San Antonio is the nation's biggest market without a team and is hundreds of miles from both Houston and Dallas (home of the Rangers). 

However, its current focus appears on making a major investment to its minor league downtown stadium, and pushing the team to the Triple-A level. The state capital Austin has no Big Four major pro team and is consistently one of the nation’s fastest-growing areas, though its sports scene is dominated by the University of Texas. 


RELATED: Ranking The 30 MLB Ballparks By Best Fan Experience


Montreal, which had the Expos and more recently wanted to be a “home away from home” for the Rays, is the second-biggest North American market without an MLB team, behind Mexico City. 

The Field has intriguing possibilities, given the infinite timeline. Vancouver, Louisville, Indianapolis and even Honolulu, all make sense to some capacity. The always-bustling Orlando area, which was an expansion finalist in 1998 before MLB awarded Tampa Bay a team instead, could become an option if the Rays are relocated. 

Mexico City, with a metro population of over 22 million, is bigger than New York or Los Angeles, each of which has two teams. Monterrey could get the edge over Mexico City, though. It’s closer to the Texas border, and the air quality and per capita income is far higher. Its four million people, while small compared to Mexico City, is comparable or larger than most MLB U.S. markets. It doesn't appear Mexico is on the immediate expansion radar

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About the Author

Adam Thompson for Bookies.com
Adam Thompson
NFL writer and expert Adam Thompson joined Bookies.com in 2019 after a successful run as senior handicapper for SportsLine and CBSSports.com. He's long been established as one of the nation's premier handicappers, specializing in the NFL where he's hit on more than 60% over the past three years. Adam's NBA, PGA and horse racing picks have also produced major winners over the last 12 months. His customized NFL and NBA odds for players and teams have been picked up by hundreds of websites over the past year.