Saturday, May 26, 2007

PCL baseball in Reno won't be successful

Looks like there's an agreement to move an unnamed Pacific Coast League team (Tucson? Omaha? New Orleans? Las Vegas?) to Washoe County, aka Reno-Sparks, Nevada. The following are the smallest five PCL markets, plus Reno:

17. Reno, NV, 410,000
16. Des Moines-West Des Moines, IA, 534,000
15. Colorado Springs, CO, 599,000
14. Tacoma, WA, 767,000
13. Albuquerque, NM, 817,000
12. Omaha-Council Bluffs, NE-IA, 823,000

Note the following:
  • The Iowa Cubs, with the smallest market in the league, have been quite successfully managed and continue to outdraw their market by the largest ratio. This is an outcome that is by no means guaranteed, and the Midwest is one of the top minor-league regions in the country.
  • Colorado Springs and Tacoma are regarded as weak markets.
  • Omaha is doing quite poorly.
  • Albuquerque, with a renovated stadium and a second chance (after their original Dukes took off), has been supportive--and has almost twice as many people as Reno.
  • Nick Lachey is a part-owner of the Tacoma Rainiers (not really relevant, I guess...)
  • Reno's independent-league efforts have failed, although the Golden League is giving it another shot this year.
All in all, clearly someone thinks this is a good idea, but there were people who thought the West Tenn Diamond Jaxx were a good idea. I'd predict a decent first couple years, followed by a fall-off to attendance near the bottom of the league; to be fair to the PCL, there aren't many good markets left, and with some teams struggling, this may look like the best of the bad options, but you wish that they'd just make things work rather than move into a probably doomed market.

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