Relocation of professional sports teams


Relocation of professional sports teams

Relocation of professional sports teams, is a common practice in North America but not at all common in Europe. It typically involves a franchise moving from one metropolitan area to another, although occasionally moves between municipalities in the same conurbation are also included.

Franchise relocations in North America

Background

Unlike most professional sport systems worldwide, sports organizations in North America generally lack a system of promotion and relegation in which poorly performing teams are replaced with teams that do well in lower-level leagues. North America lacks comprehensive governing bodies whose authority extends from the amateur to the highest levels of a given sport. Unlike in other countries, where one may invest in a local lower-level club and through performance see that club rise to major league status, the only three ways a North American city can host a major league sports team are through league expansion, forming/joining a rival league or, most commonly, relocation.

A city wishing to get a team in a major professional sports league can wait for the league to expand and award new franchises. However, as of 2006 each of the major leagues has 30 or 32 franchises. Many current owners believe this is the optimal size for a major league, and with the possible exception of the NFL's desire to return to Los Angeles, North America's second largest market, none of the major leagues are believed to be imminently considering expansion.

In past decades, aspiring owners whose overtures had been rejected by the established leagues would respond by forming a rival league in hopes that the existing major league will eventually agree to a merger, the new league will attain major league status in its own right and/or the established league is compelled to expand. The 1960s American Football League is perhaps the most prominent example of a successful rival league, having achieved each of the three goals listed above in reverse order. However, all major sports have had a rival league achieve at least some of these goals in the past five decades. Baseball's proposed Continental League did not play a game, but only because Major League Baseball responded to the proposal by adding teams in some of the proposed CL cities. The American Basketball Association and World Hockey Association each succeeded in getting some of their franchises accepted into the established leagues, which had both unsuccessfully attempted to cause their upstart rivals to fold outright by adding more teams.

However, given present market and financial conditions a serious attempt to form a rival league in the early 21st century would likely require hundreds of millions (if not billions) of dollars in investment and initial losses, and even if such resources were made available the upstart league's success would be far from guaranteed, as evidenced by the failure of the WWF/NBC-backed XFL in 2001. Therefore, so long as leagues choose not to expand and/or reject a city's application, the only realistic recourse is to convince the owner(s) of an existing team to move it.

Owners usually move teams because of weak fan support or the team organization is in debt and needs an adequate population for support or because another city offers a bigger local market or a more financially lucrative stadium/arena deal. Governments may offer lucrative deals to team owners to attract or retain a team. For example, to attract the National Football League's Cleveland Browns in 1995, the state of Maryland agreed to build a new stadium and allow the team to use it rent-free and keep all parking, advertising and concession revenue. (This move proved so controversial that the team was renamed the Baltimore Ravens and the NFL awarded Cleveland a new franchise, which took the Browns name and official lineage.)

The relocation of sports teams is often controversial. Opponents criticize owners for leaving behind faithful fans and governments for spending millions of dollars of tax money on attracting teams. However, since sports teams in the USA are generally treated like any other business under antitrust law, there is little sports leagues can do to prevent teams from flocking to the highest bidders. Major League Baseball, unique among the major professional sports leagues, has an exemption from antitrust laws won through a Supreme Court decision but nonetheless has allowed several teams to change cities.

Newer sports leagues tend to have more-transient franchises than more-established, "major" leagues, but in the mid-1990s, several NFL and National Hockey League teams moved to other cities, and the threat of a move pushed cities with major-league teams in any sport to build new stadiums and arenas. Critics referred to the movement of teams to the highest-bidding city as "franchise free agency."

List of relocations

The following charts list movements of franchises in the modern eras of the major North American sports leagues. It does not include:
*Moves within a city, which have occurred many times in all major leagues.
*Short-distance city-suburb moves (i.e. Los Angeles to Anaheim, both of which are in the same urban agglomeration)
*Team moves that happened before the organization joined its current league.
*Moves of teams that as of 2006 no longer exist. There were many such moves in the early years of the NFL in particular.

Major League Baseball

*1902: Milwaukee Brewers became the St. Louis Browns.
*1903: Baltimore Orioles became the New York Highlanders and then the Yankees.
*1953: Boston Braves moved to Milwaukee; this was the first MLB relocation in 50 years.
*1954: St. Louis Browns moved to Baltimore and became the Orioles.
*1955: Philadelphia Athletics moved to Kansas City.
*1958: Brooklyn Dodgers moved to Los Angeles; New York Giants moved to San Francisco. These were the first major league teams on the West Coast; the teams moved simultaneously to facilitate travel for other NL teams.
*1961: Washington Senators moved to the Twin Cities area and became the Minnesota Twins. Not wishing to alienate Washington and its powerful baseball fans, MLB granted the city a new franchise, also called the Senators.
*1966: Milwaukee Braves moved to Atlanta.
*1968: Kansas City Athletics moved to Oakland.
*1970: Seattle Pilots moved to Milwaukee and became the Brewers. The Pilots were a 1-year-old expansion team at the time of their move and this made the move controversial. Most leagues since then have made a rulingFact|date=February 2007 that expansion teams can't move until they are at least 5 years old.
*1972: Second Washington Senators moved to Arlington, Texas and became the Texas Rangers.
*2005: Montreal Expos moved to Washington, D.C. and became the Washington Nationals. The Expos had split time between Montreal and San Juan, Puerto Rico in 2003 and 2004. This was the first MLB relocation in 33 years.

National Football League

*1921: Decatur Staleys moved to Chicago and were renamed Chicago Bears one year later.
*1934: Portsmouth (Ohio) Spartans became Detroit Lions.
*1937: Boston Redskins moved to Washington, D.C.
*1946: Cleveland Rams moved to Los Angeles (first top-level professional sports franchise on the West Coast).
*1960: Chicago Cardinals moved to St. Louis.
*1982: Oakland Raiders moved to Los Angeles. The NFL refused permission for the move, but the team won the right to relocate in a court case.
*1984: Baltimore Colts moved to Indianapolis. The team's offices were slipped out of Baltimore in the middle of the night to avoid a proposed eminent domain seizure by the state of Maryland.
*1988: St. Louis Cardinals moved to the Phoenix area, playing games in nearby Tempe. The team now plays in another Phoenix suburb, Glendale. The team was renamed the Arizona Cardinals in 1994.
*1995: Los Angeles Rams moved to St. Louis.
*1995: Los Angeles Raiders moved back to Oakland. Since then, Los Angeles, the nation's second-largest market, has not hosted an NFL franchise.
*1996: Cleveland Browns moved to Baltimore and became the Baltimore Ravens. The move was one of the most controversial in major professional sports history. In response to a fan revolt and legal threats, the NFL awarded a new franchise to Cleveland in 1999, which for historical purposes is considered a continuation of the original Browns franchise.
*1997: Houston Oilers moved to Memphis and became the Tennessee Oilers. The team originally planned to play both 1997 and 1998 in Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium in Memphis before moving to their intended destination of Nashville. However, due to poor attendance, the team moved to Nashville in 1998, playing in Vanderbilt University's stadium. The team was renamed the Tennessee Titans in 1999, when their new stadium was opened.

National Basketball Association

*1951: Tri-Cities Blackhawks (The "Tri Cities" area is now generally referred to as "Quad Cities") moved to Milwaukee and became the Milwaukee Hawks.
*1955: Milwaukee Hawks moved to St. Louis.
*1957: Fort Wayne Pistons moved to Detroit.
*1957: Rochester Royals moved to Cincinnati.
*1960: Minneapolis Lakers moved to Los Angeles.
*1962: Philadelphia Warriors moved to San Francisco.
*1963: Chicago Zephyrs became the Baltimore Bullets.
*1963: Syracuse Nationals became the Philadelphia 76ers.
*1968: St. Louis Hawks moved to Atlanta.
*1971: San Diego Rockets moved to Houston.
*1972: Cincinnati Royals moved to a new primary home in Kansas City and a secondary home in Omaha, carrying the name Kansas City-Omaha Kings. The team ceased Omaha operations in 1975 and became known as just the Kansas City Kings.
*1973: Baltimore Bullets moved to Landover, Maryland, a suburb of Washington, D.C., and became the Capital Bullets. Their name was changed to the Washington Bullets in 1974. In 1997, they moved to Washington proper and became the Washington Wizards.
*1973: Dallas Chaparrals become the San Antonio Spurs
*1977: New York Nets, one year after the ABA/NBA merger, become the New Jersey Nets
*1978: Buffalo Braves became the San Diego Clippers.
*1979: New Orleans Jazz moved to Salt Lake City, becoming the Utah Jazz.
*1984: San Diego Clippers moved to Los Angeles.
*1985: Kansas City Kings moved to Sacramento.
*2001: Vancouver Grizzlies moved to Memphis.
*2002: Charlotte Hornets moved to New Orleans.
*2005: New Orleans Hornets moved to Oklahoma City following Hurricane Katrina. The relocation was temporary and the team moved back to New Orleans following the 2006-07 season.
*2008: The Seattle SuperSonics moved to Oklahoma City before the 2008-09 season, with the franchise renamed to Oklahoma City Thunder. As a part of the settlement of a lawsuit that had been filed by the city of Seattle, the city will retain the Sonics' name and colors, while the franchise history will be jointly held by the Oklahoma City team and any future NBA team in Seattle.

National Hockey League

*1976: The California Golden Seals, which played their home games in Oakland, moved to Cleveland and became the Cleveland Barons. The Barons franchise was later absorbed into the Minnesota North Stars organization in 1978.
*1976: The Kansas City Scouts moved to Denver and became the Colorado Rockies.
*1980: The Atlanta Flames moved to Calgary.
*1982: The Colorado Rockies moved to East Rutherford, New Jersey and became the New Jersey Devils.
*1993: The Minnesota North Stars moved to Dallas and became the Stars.
*1995: The Quebec Nordiques moved to Denver and became the Colorado Avalanche.
*1996: The Winnipeg Jets moved to Phoenix and became the Coyotes.
*1997: The Hartford Whalers moved corporate offices to Raleigh, North Carolina and became the Carolina Hurricanes. For two years they played home games in Greensboro while an arena was under construction in Raleigh.

Major League Soccer

*2006: San Jose Earthquakes moved to Houston and became the Houston Dynamo however the team records, logo, colors, championships and history were left in San Jose. An option for an MLS franchise was awarded to Oakland Athletics owner Lew Wolff in 2006 and the option was exercised in 2007. The Earthquakes resumed play in MLS in 2008 as a continuation of the previous Earthquakes franchise.

Canadian Football League

*1996: Baltimore Stallions moved to Montreal and became the Montreal Alouettes; this move came after the Stallions won the Grey Cup in 1995.

Team relocation in Europe

In Europe, this sort of move is very rare. This is due to the different relationship between clubs and their league in the European system of professional sports league organization. In most sports, teams can be relegated from their current league down to a lower one, or promoted up a league to the one above. Membership of the national top division is gained and held through excellent performance — and lost when performance slips. This arrangement is equally true for every level in the Football pyramid. The pyramid system inevitably leads to nearly every sizable city or town having at least a semi-pro team (or teams) that will have likely have secured the loyalty of the town's fanbase, thus making the town unattractive to anyone looking to move a team there even if it plays in a higher division. Thus, any person or city wanting a top-league team can invest in the already-existing lower-level team that will likely be there and hope the team can advance to the top division. Wigan Athletic and Gretna are examples of teams in England and Scotland, respectively, that have risen up the pyramid dramatically due to investment.Additionally, the background of many clubs in these leagues is of social and community organisations rather than a commercial venture by an owner or owners which is why teams are usually referred to as clubs regardless of their current ownership structure. Whilst teams are now commonly privatised and often associated heavily with high profile owners, this historical basis may be why even private concerns are reluctant to move.

United Kingdom

Football

*In England, Wimbledon F.C.'s Norwegian owners moved the club from South London to Milton Keynes, a town more than 60 miles away and one of the few large towns (due to its status as a new town constructed in 1967) without a league football team. For doing so, they were widely criticised by the English footballing community, who began to refer disparagingly to the club as "Franchise F.C.": though this isn't technically 'franchising', the fact of continuing to call it Wimbledon (where it was nowhere near) made it reminiscent of US practice (see "Background" above). London fans created a new local team, AFC Wimbledon; Wimbledon F.C. went into administration, was bought out of administration and subsequently relaunched with a new name, Milton Keynes Dons F.C.. Twelve years before the move to Milton Keynes, they had already left their London borough of Merton home for Selhurst Park in (the London borough of) Croydon. Although this was a supposedly temporary move, it had lasted 12 years by the time of their migration.
*Gravesend and Northfleet F.C. changed their name to Ebbsfleet United F.C. in 2007. Ebbsfleet is a new town a mile or so away from Gravesend and the club are looking to move to a new stadium there in the future.
*Another similar, but less well known move, is that from South Shields. In 1973, South Shields F.C. became Gateshead United F.C. after a move between the two towns that are 10 miles apart — repeating a similar migration in 1930. "(This club failed a few years later. The present Gateshead F.C. and South Shields F.C. are new clubs)."
*More recently in Scotland, Meadowbank Thistle, a struggling Edinburgh club controversially relocated in 1995 to the new town of Livingston, 19 miles away. It changed its name to Livingston F.C., its fortunes improved and it won the Scottish League Cup in 2004.
*Also in Scotland, Airdrie United F.C. was the 2002 reincarnation of Clydebank F.C., which relocated to Airdrie following the earlier liquidation of Airdrieonians F.C..
* Again in Scotland, Clyde F.C. moved from Shawfield Stadium (near Rutherglen in the south east of Glasgow) to the new town of Cumbernauld in 1994. They had been evicted from Shawfield in 1986. By 1990, Clyde secured an agreement to build a home of their own in the Cumbernauld, which due to shifting population patterns was by now one of the larger settlements in Scotland without senior football. They were homeless from 1986 until Broadwood Stadium was built in Cumbernauld in 1994.
* In Northern Ireland, Belfast based Distillery FC were homeless for many seasons in the 1970s sharing grounds with other clubs until settling in Lisburn, later adding the towns name to theirs, now known as Lisburn Distillery.

Other examples of relocation out of the original district are slightly more common. In certain cases, the club has moved within a conurbation:
*Arsenal moved from Woolwich in south London to Highbury in north London in 1913. They moved again to Holloway, a neighbourhood adjacent to Highbury, in 2006.
*A few other London clubs play outside of their named locales: Millwall F.C. play in Bermondsey, rather than Millwall, after moving to New Cross in 1910, and Queen's Park Rangers are based in Shepherd's Bush rather than the the area of North-West London from which they take their name. Closer to home, Chelsea's ground is actually in Fulham, and West Ham United's is in Upton Park.
*Grimsby Town play in the town of Cleethorpes, a town to the east of Grimsby that has been absorbed by the former's outward growth
*Partick Thistle is a Scottish football club that moved from the Glasgow district of Partick to that of Maryhill but retains its name.
*Nottingham Forest have long played outside of the Forest district of Nottingham and also play in West Bridgford, just outside Nottingham city limits.
*Manchester United play in the borough of Trafford, west of Manchester, after moving out of Manchester in 1910.
*Interestingly, Everton have never played in the district of Everton in Liverpool. Everton's original ground was Anfield where Liverpool now play. Everton left Anfield in the 1890s over a dispute with owners and are now playing in the Walton district of Liverpool, less than a mile away.

Rugby League

In 1999, just one year after the Sheffield Eagles won the Challenge Cup, they accepted an offer from the RFL to merge with the Huddersfield Giants. The new team, Huddersfield-Sheffield Giants, played some matches in Sheffield's Don Valley Stadium and some in Huddersfield's McAlpine Stadium. However, the new team consisting of mostly ex-Sheffield players, whilst retaining the old -Giants suffix resulted in a lack of acceptance from both sets of fans (though primarily Sheffield), and the team reverted to the Huddersfield Giants name the following season, effectively a franchise of the team. A new Sheffield Eagles started from scratch that following season, and now compete at National League 1.

The same year, Gateshead Thunder, who had only been playing in the English Super League for one year, were taken over by Hull Sharks and re-branded Hull FC; the merged club moved in entirety to Kingston upon Hull. As with Sheffield, a new Gateshead Thunder team was set up by supporters of the old side to play in the National Leagues.

Italy

Football club relocation is present also practice in Italian football, especially at lower levels. Current Italian football laws allow relocation of clubs only between bordering cities. Some examples of current football clubs born as relocation of previous ones include:
*In 2004, after Cosenza Calcio 1914 was not admitted to Serie B, a new ownership bought sports rights from then-Serie D club Castrovillari in order to permit a Cosenza franchise to play football in the upcoming season. The new club however proved to be short-lived, as it declared bankruptcy in 2007, but was promptly replaced by Fortitudo Cosenza, born as relocation of neighbouring Serie D club Rende Calcio.
*Serie D's Neapolis, located in Naples, was born as a relocation of Sangiuseppese, a club hailing from the neighbouring city of San Giuseppe Vesuviano.
*In 1994, one year after the cancellation of Calcio Catania, Atletico Leonzio's chairman Franco Proto relocated his club, renaming it Atletico Catania. The club, previously located in Lentini, went on to play up to Serie C1 (the league now known as Lega Pro Prima Divisione), losing promotion to Serie B on playoffs twice before being cancelled in 2001 because of financial difficulties also related to Calcio Catania's return into professional football and the consequent drop in attendance.

More recent examples include A.C.D. Città di Vittoria, born in 2007 as merger of Serie D's Comiso with minor league club Junior Vittoria (possibly a trick in order to allow the club to legally relocate from Comiso to Vittoria). A.S.D. Pol. Libertas Acate of Serie D are a club officially settled in Acate, which however actually plays their home matches in Modica and are recognized by both fans and the regional press as Modica's club, being frequently referred to as Libertas Acate-Modica. In fact, after a takeover bid in 2006 the club left Acate to play their home matches in Modica despite the fact they were not eligible to change the "legal" home city.

Netherlands

Team relocation is very rare in the Netherlands. The most prominent case involves professional football club FC Omniworld. When 1964 Eredivisie champion and 1964-65 European Cup quarter finalist Door Wilskracht Sterk was merged into FC Amsterdam, its supporters founded amateur football club "De Zwarte Schapen", named after their nickname, which translates as "Black Sheep". The club quickly rose through the ranks of amateur football, eventually reaching the Hoofdklasse. After several violent incidents on the pitch and a six month suspension by the Royal Netherlands Football Association, the club moved from Amsterdam to nearby Almere (a "new town") and changed its name to Sporting Flevoland. That name was changed to FC Omniworld in the 1990s, and FC Omniworld was admitted to the Eerste Divisie for the 2005-06 season.

Team Relocations in Australia

Two of the major professional sporting leagues in Australia are the Australian Football League and National Rugby League. Both competitions were originally based in one city and expanded to a national level, as such there have been team relocations, mergers and closures in both leagues. As in North America, promotion and relegation does not exist.

AFL

The AFL is the national competition in Australian rules football and grew out of the mostly suburban Melbourne based Victorian Football League competition, as a result the member clubs have had to move to adjust to a changing national focus.

Major Interstate Relocations

*South Melbourne Swans - in 1982 relocated interstate to Sydney 963 kilometres north and became the Sydney Swans. Despite early struggles, the club has more than tripled its membership since.
*Fitzroy Lions - in 1996 the Melbourne based club merged with the interstate Brisbane Bears to become the Brisbane Lions and base itself 1669 kilometres north of its former home. Since the merger, the club has almost doubled its membership. The Fitzroy Lions club maintains a small Melbourne branch office and sponsors a spin-off amateur club based near its old home.

Minor Relocations

*St Kilda Football Club - in 1964 relocated from the Junction Oval in St Kilda to the Moorabbin Oval in the South Eastern Melbourne suburb of Moorabbin. Two years later they won their first and only premiership. St Kilda were one of the first tenants of the new Colonial Stadium in 2000, but their administration remained at Moorabbin. In late 2007, it was confirmed that the club would leave Moorabbin to set up base in Frankston, Victoria [ [http://www.news.com.au/heraldsun/story/0,21985,22796714-11088,00.html Saints confirm Frankston switch] ] , a region (the Mornington Peninsula) in which the club had grown its supporter base significantly.
*Hawthorn Football Club - in 1973 moved from suburban Hawthorn to Princes Park in North Carlton, Victoria an inner Northern suburb of Melbourne. In 2000, the club moved its home games to the Melbourne Cricket Ground. In 2005, some years after Waverley Park's demise as an official VFL/AFL venue, the club permanently relocated to Waverley, but the name of the club did not change.
*Brisbane Bears - in 1993 relocated to the Brisbane Cricket Ground in Brisbane for the 1993 season and membership and attendances instantly tripled. Formed in 1986, the perhaps incorrectly named side had initially established itself in Carrara, Queensland a suburb of the city of the Gold Coast, Queensland, some 80 kilometres south of the city of Brisbane.
*Collingwood Football Club - in 1999 played their last game at Victoria Park in Collingwood and moved to the larger and more central Melbourne Cricket Ground. The headquarters of the club moved to the Lexus Centre in Richmond, Victoria in 2005.

Home Ground Only Relocations

*Fitzroy Football Club - in 1967 moved its home ground from the Brunswick Street Oval in Fitzroy to Princes Park, Carlton. In 1970, the club again moved its home game to the Junction Oval in 1970, then the Whitten Oval in 1984 before eventually merging with an interstate club.
*Essendon Football Club - in 1993 moved their home ground from Windy Hill, Essendon to the larger and more central Melbourne Cricket Ground. In 2000, the club again moved home games to the Telstra Dome, though the headquarters of the club remained in Essendon.
*Port Adelaide Football Club - in 1997, on admission to the AFL moved its home games to AAMI Stadium. The club retained its administration and training base at Alberton Oval in Port Adelaide.
*North Melbourne Football Club - in 2000 moved home ground to the Telstra Dome, but retained the Arden Street Oval in North Melbourne as official headquarters.
*Geelong Football Club - in 2000, the provincial Victorian club became the AFL's first true dual-home club, playing the larger games at the Telstra Dome 75 kilometres away in Melbourne. The club's administration remains based at Kardinia Park in Geelong.
*Footscray Football Club - in 2002 moved permanently from the Whitten Oval in Footscray to the larger and more central Telstra Dome and changed their name to the Western Bulldogs, though the club's headquarters is still in Footscray.
*Richmond Football Club - moved their home games from Punt Road Oval next door to the much larger Melbourne Cricket Ground. The club still trains and has administration quarters at the Punt Road Oval.
*Melbourne Football Club - During the re-development ot their home, the Melbourne Cricket Ground, the training and administration headquarters of the club were temporarily moved to Sandringham, Victoria with the Victorian Football League affiliate, the Sandringham Football Club. The club's training headquarters are currently at the Junction Oval which proves troublesome during the summer as it is used for cricket. The club hopes to remove the problems associated with separate administration and training headquarters when it moves all operation to its new headquarters at a refurbished Olympic Park Stadium in 2007.
*Carlton Football Club - at the end of the 2005 season moved from Optus Oval in Carlton, to the larger and more central Telstra Dome, although retained its administration headquarters at Princes Park. The club was the last suburban based Melbourne club to leave its former home ground.

econdary Interstate 'Home's

Some Melbourne based clubs began selling home games interstate in the late 1990s and conducting community camp clinics to build up local supporter bases.
*Western Bulldogs - Darwin, Northern Territory since 2000 (approximately 1-2 games a year). In 2007, the Bulldogs reduced their commitment to 1 game and signed a deal to also play 1 game a year in Canberra.
*St Kilda Football Club - Launceston, Tasmania (approximately 2 games a year between 2002-2006).
*Hawthorn Football Club - Launceston, Tasmania (approximately 2 games a year between 2002-2006). In 2006, changed their naming rights to the "Tassie Hawks" and increased the number of games to 4 per year
*North Melbourne Football Club - in 1999, backed by the AFL, the club changed their trading name to the Kangaroos, and played a handful of "home" games interstate in Sydney. The move proved unsuccessful, and the club has since played in Canberra for several years (2002-2006) before abandoning the area for the more lucrative, and potential goldmine at the Gold Coast, Queensland (2007 onwards).
*Melbourne Football Club - a single home game a year to the Brisbane Lions at the Brisbane Cricket Ground in Queensland (2005-2007). The Demons added a single game to Gold Coast, Queensland in Queensland in 2006. In 2007, the Demons shifted its Gold Coast commitment to Canberra for a single game each year whilst also playing one game a year in Brisbane.

NRL

The NRL is the national competition in rugby league and was born out of the Sydney based Australian Rugby League and New South Wales Rugby League competitions. In 1987, the Western Suburbs Magpies agreed to relocate from its (inner) Western suburbs base to the outer south-western Macarthur district following a prior move west to Lidcombe Oval. In 1999, they merged with the remaining Inner Western team, the Balmain Tigers, (both teams having been established in 1908) to become Wests Tigers.The North Sydney Bears attempted to move from their Northern Suburbs base to the swiftly growing Central Coast region just north of Sydney in 1999, however problems with construction at the proposed home ground now known as Bluetongue Central Coast Stadium meant that the Bears continued to play home matches in a variety of Sydney grounds before being forced into a merger with the Manly Sea Eagles as the Northern Eagles. The merged clubs played home matches at both the Central Coast and Manly's home ground of Brookvale Oval, but after the bears were expelled from the partnership, poor crowds at the former location led to a reversion to the name of Manly and games played exclusively at Brookvale Oval. Subsequently one of the owners of Bluetongue Central Coast Stadium, John Singleton, has attempted to lure another club to play there, notably the South Sydney Rabbitohs whom have experienced poor crowds at their new home ground of Telstra Stadium.

The Canterbury Bulldogs were formed in 1935 and played their first season without a home ground. In 1936, they settled at Belmore Oval (renamed the Belmore Sports Ground) and played home matches there until the end of the 1998 season. The Bulldogs trialled a number of alternative home grounds during the 1990s, including Concord Oval in 1994. In 1995 they changed their name to the Sydney Bulldogs played most of the Premiership winning season at Parramatta Stadium, sharing the ground with bitter rivals, the Parramatta Eels and the also renamed and relocated Sydney (Balmain) Tigers. They finally settled on Stadium Australia, the main stadium for the Sydney 2000 Olympic games as their home ground, and in 2008, relocated their training and administration facilities from Belmore to the Homebush Olympic Park Site.

Other clubs have relocated to new home grounds but have retained their original base.

Relocations in other parts of the world

Relocations in other countries are done according to the type of sport played and/or the predominant style of league organization, as well as individual economic circumstances. For instance, Nippon Professional Baseball in Japan (run like MLB) has relocated several franchises out of crowded markets, the most recent being Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters (originally based in Tokyo) and Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks (originally based in Osaka). The J. League (also in Japan but run like European football leagues) has by contrast allowed only a few teams to move out of crowded or unprofitable markets, the only prominent example being Tokyo Verdy moving from Kawasaki, Kanagawa to Tokyo. (Thespa Kusatsu actually plays in the nearby larger city of Maebashi, Gunma because Kusatsu does not have a large stadium; Verdy, F.C. Tokyo and Gamba Osaka play outside their city limits but in Tokyo's case it's more a question of practicality than location.)

In Mexico, the Atlante football club recently moved out of Mexico City to Cancún in the south (Primera División de México has a relegation system but its teams have some territorial rights recognized, perhaps due to U.S. influence as many league matches are aired in the U.S., where only traditional top flight teams are perceived to reach the immigrant fanbase more efficiently). Relocations are also common when an amateur or semi-professional club tries to acquire its own facilities in order to become a professional club, and no money and/or space is available to build their own in a long-established location. In Peru several teams have had to use already built large stadiums, including ones in the interior of the country, to be able to participate in Primera División Peruana; this includes several teams from the capital, Lima, who have not been able to establish fanbases in their districts due to the required moves.

In South Korea, the GS Group, which was soon to be spun off from its parent LG, moved its Anyang football club to Seoul in February 2004 without notice one month before the start of the K-League season, changing the club's name to FC Seoul. Two years later to the day, on February 2 2006, Bucheon's club was moved by its owner, SK Group, to Jeju Island, again without notice, and rechristened Jeju United. Many Korean football fans reacted by calling the two clubs Northern Immoral (Seoul) FC and Southern Immoral (Jeju) FC, and consider February 2 a black day for Korean football.

In France, Red Star Olympique merged with Toulouse FC (1937), but Toulouse FC disappeared and a new Toulouse FC was reformed later.

References

External links

* [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/sports/longterm/memories/1995/95nfl4.htm "Modell Announces Browns' Move to Baltimore"] by Charles Babington and Ken Denlinger, "The Washington Post", Nov. 7, 1995.
* [http://www.andrewclem.com/Baseball/MLB_Franchises.html "Major League Baseball Franchises"] by Andrew C. Clem, 2005.
* [http://www.hickoksports.com/history/nflfranchises.shtml "NFL Franchise Chronology"] by Hickok Sports, 2004.
* [http://www.hickoksports.com/history/nbafranchisehist.shtml "NBA Franchise History"] by Hickok Sports, 2004.
* [http://www.rauzulusstreet.com/hockey/nhlhistory/nhlhistory.html "National Hockey League (NHL) Expansion History"] by Razulu's Street, 2004.

ee also

* Professional sports league organization


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  • Sports in Las Vegas — Las Vegas is one of the largest cities in the United States without a major league sports team. If it does not get a team before the 2010 U.S. census it will likely be confirmed as the largest metropolitan area without one. There are many sports… …   Wikipedia

  • Sports-related curses — A sports related curse is a superstitious belief in the effective action of some power or evil, that is used to explain the failures or misfortunes of specific sports teams, players, or even cities. Teams, players, and cities often cite a curse… …   Wikipedia

  • U.S. cities with teams from four major sports — There are 13 U.S. cities with teams from four major sports, where city is defined as the entire metropolitan area, and major professional sports leagues as: * National Football League (NFL), founded in 1920 * Major League Baseball (MLB), in… …   Wikipedia

  • Canucks Sports & Entertainment — Type Private Industry Sports, Property management Founded 1995 (as Orca Bay Sports Entertainment) 2008 (present name)[1] Key people Fra …   Wikipedia