The National Football League is thinking about expansion again. Although there are 32 teams currently competing to become Super Bowl Champions each year, the current format of the league with four divisions featuring four teams creates the potential for eight expansion opportunities.
We’ve seen franchises move in recent years, with the Rams returning to Los Angeles, the Chargers leaving San Diego, and the Raiders making their way to Las Vegas. Oakland, St. Louis, and San Diego are natural cities which should have an NFL franchise in the future if the league decides to expand.
London is another potential venue for a franchise.
That means there are four additional cities to consider if the NFL were to follow this model. Here are the best options which are located in the United States.
#1. San Antonio
Although not everyone may be a fan of placing a third team in Texas, the NFL expanding to San Antonio makes sense. The city has facilities which could host a franchise immediately. Football is also part of the culture in the state, with some high school stadiums outshining college venues. That’s why the Raiders had this city near the top of their list when they wanted to leave Oakland.
#2. Oklahoma City
This city also has most of the infrastructure in place already to support an NFL franchise. Football culture here is just as strong as it is in Texas too. You will find plenty of Oklahomans ready to start getting behind a hometown team instead of one that is south of the border. The success of the OKC Thunder proves that football could be played here full-time too.
#3. Portland, OR
The Seattle Seahawks are on their own when it comes to playing in the Pacific Northwest. Their closest rival is the San Francisco 49ers. If an NFL franchise came to Portland, then the Cascadia rivalry that we see in Major League Soccer would transition to the NFL. We already know the city is passionate about the sport thanks to the Oregon Ducks. Now might be the perfect time to take that love to the next level.
The number of professional sports teams found in the U.S. Southwest are minimal. There are only a handful of minor league teams out there to consider too. New Mexico doesn’t have a single professional sports team that plays on a first-division level. Their best options are the Lobos or the Aggies, so it would make sense to give the market an NFL franchise.
Hawaii is another state which finds itself lacking in the way of professional sports. Although there are some challenges for a team to be placed on the islands, like traveling logistics and market size, they aren’t any different than putting a team in Mexico City or London. You wouldn’t have the passport issues either – and you could market to the South Pacific, Japan, New Zealand, and Australia.
Listen up ownership groups. If the NFL goes forward with expansion efforts, then these are the cities which should gain a franchise. What do you think?