This report by Portfolio.com and bizjournals is two years old, but I’m guessing the numbers, if accurate, are fairly sticky. The question:
“What North American cities are primed economically to host a major-league sports franchise and which ones are already overextended?”
The usual suspects emerge in most cases. This interactive map displays
them nicely. It’s also how I learned that the numbers crunchers at Portfolio believe Allentown (the Lehigh Valley metro region, really) could support a Major League Soccer team. Researchers looked at total personal income
(the total sum of all income in a given market) and concluded that while an MLB franchise requires a TPI of $83 billion, an MLS franchise needs a comparatively scant $13.9 billion.
Allentown metro’s TPI is $30.62 billion. That’s $4 billion more than NHL city Winnipeg and 2 bills shy of Tucson for perspective. I know that Philadelphia (well, Chester) has a shiny new MLS team in the Union, but that’s not a TPI issue. Given a local MLS team to go crazy for, Lehigh Valley soccer fans would buy in in droves, and so would a good many casual sports fans. The Union would be our natural rival, with yearly Turnpike Grudge Matches and the like. A-town would get a piece of the national broadcast action, with ESPN beaming live from our lovely new stadium on the Allentown waterfront a few times a year. It’s too bad PPL, headquartered here, bought the naming rights to the Union’s home field. But those things can change.
Let’s put this on the fast track. I’m willing to green light this ahead of my hoped-for Butz Tower (a hypothetical soul-mate for the Art Deco bachelor on 9th street).
Come on, Allentown metro. You know you want to.