MLB Nashville: Could Tampa Bay Rays Leave for Tennessee?

Nashville, Tennessee hosts the Tennessee Titans and Nashville Predators. Could the city handle a third major sports franchise? Once again, MLB Nashville rumors have heated up. On January 24, ESPN senior baseball writer Buster Olney sent this tweet:

Ive always wondered: Nashville? Would it work? Right in the middle of a map gap. Titans a good franchise.

Olney made this comment after the Tampa Bay Times suggested that MLB has lost faith in their area. Despite having a good team almost every season, the Tampa Bay Rays struggle with attendance. Many of those problems are from the poor location of their stadium. Only 600,000 people live within a 30-minute drive of it. Thats worse than eight minor league teams.

Rays owner Stuart Sternberg has campaigned for a new stadium. His requests have fallen on deaf ears.

Is there enough interest to make MLB Nashville work? In its first 24 hours of existence, @MLBNashville had 1,361 Twitter followers. On January 25, local sports talk shows were flooded with callers who praised the idea. Currently, there is a large segment of the population who either cheer for the Atlanta Braves or Cincinnati Reds.

Before Nashville can consider this, they must build a new stadium. Thats already affecting attendance for the Nashville Sounds. They must draw from cities outside of Nashville. Government financing is another major obstacle.

Its worth noting that, in December 2012, the Titans drew one of their lowest television ratings since moving to Nashville. Four years ago, they finished with a 13-3 record. Its important that any new team starts winning within five years of their existence.

Dont expect anything to happen for another decade. Maybe longer. A lot of work and obstacles to overcome.

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