In 1955 the Milwaukee Hawks, formerly the Tri-Cities Blackhawks formerly the Buffalo Bisons moved to St. Louis and became the St. Louis Hawks. It brought the first and only NBA Championship in 1958 to the St. Louis Hawks franchise defeating the Boston Celtics in 6 games. Bob Pettit hung half a hundred on the Celtics in the clincher! What you may not know is that the St. Louis Hawks went to the NBA Finals 4 times in 5 years during their 9 years they were in St. Louis; loosing to those mighty Boston Celtics three times with the one win.
That has now moved on to Atlanta. Why did they move? Well, the situation with the St. Louis Rams is all to familiar and if the City of St. Louis is smart, they will either keep the Rams, or bring the Hawks back to Da’ Lou’.
A brief Background…
I lived in St. Louis for about 15 years. I’m not originally from there nor do I currently live there. In fact, I live quite a bit away from St. Louis.. Jacksonville, FL. I moved to Jacksonville almost three years ago to be closer to warmer climate and the beach. I played college hoops in St. Louis at Lindenwood University, a smaller now D-II school that won me over on my recruiting trip by showing me the brand new basketball arena. Man it was beautiful. It’s safe to say, I’m a sports, but mostly basketball junkie. My brother is maybe one of the better X’s & O’s guys in the country, it runs in our blood.
When I moved to Jacksonville I realize they had an ABA team here called the Jacksonville Giants who were actually blowing through the competition in their league. They’d won 2 straight titles and were beating everyone by 50 or 60 every night. The support from the city was decent so that led me to investigate what it would take to bring an NBA team to Jacksonville.
How A City Gets A Pro Team
There’s far more people that have done far more research than I have. Every detail won’t be here, but one of the first things a league will look at is the city’s Total Personal Income or TPI as they call it. Basically, TPI is all income earned by the residents of the city in a calendar year. It’s basically the city’s salary. Now, there are so many other factors, but this one of the primary economic factors the NBA, NFL, MLB and NHL will consider first. The question, can a city support the team?
To support a team, here are the following numbers taken from a report I came across 3 1/2 years ago:
- MLB: $85.4 Billion
- NHL: $37.6 Billion
- NFL: $36.7 Billion
- NBA: $34.2 Billion
- MLS: $15.4 Billion
Now, Jacksonville has the Jacksonville Jaguars and they city’s TPI is roughly $54 Billion (taken 4 years ago). Supporting an NFL Team takes roughly $37 Billion from that and leaves around $17 Billion leftover. That’s not even half the amount needed to support another pro team. So, my hope was crushed. No need to lobby any longer, Until now…
The Rams Are Moving Back
I feel like 2015 is the year where people go back home. You’re seeing this in many places, AKA LeBron James. I don’t know specifics, only what I see and read on TV and ESPN. However, I do know, before I left the sentiment was the Rams are out it’s only a matter of time. In my opinion that fate was sealed the moment Stan Kroenke bought the team. He’s a west coast guy and owns 2 Denver pro teams and has real estate ties in California…. Over. Sealed, next stop. Los Angeles, California. Now it’s already been ruled that the Rams won’t leave next year (2015/16 season) and they have until sometime early this year to file paperwork to the NFL league offices to move for the following year. Again, it’s not a question of if but when. Sorry St. Louis. Sell your Rams gear now.
The bigger story here is that St. Louis could actually be in a really good position economically if they play their cards right. Just today the NBA gave permission to the now Atlanta Hawks to go up for sale, all 100% of the team. Let’s think about what that means in terms of TPI.
St. Louis has a total TPI of roughly (remember, all I could find was a report from 3 1/2 years ago, my assumption is that TPI, as well as TPI minimums for leagues have risen) $120 Billion of that TPI, the St. Louis Cardinals (Go Birds!!!) take up $86 Billion of that, the St. Louis Blues take up another $38 Billion. That puts St. Louis right on it’s limit. However, If the city is already $43 Billion dollars over the “minimum” of total TPI, the leagues must know that the city overly supports the home teams! Remember, back in the day, MLB had 2 franchises in St. Louis – the Browns, and the Cardinals.
It Would actually cost the city less to trade the Rams for the Hawks, while earnings would rise because they could leverage Scottrade Center (I think that’s what it’s called now) where the Blues play. Undoubtedly that would hold enough seats, allow for box and premium season tickets to be sold. Problem solved right? Wrong. St. Louis still need a buyer — and one who can put up the $75 Million it will cost to terminate the agreement with the arena in Atlanta… but isn’t that like a superstar player contract? Easy.
Far fetched idea? No chance. Everyone remembers the Seattle Supersonics. They were bought by two Oklahoma businessmen and EVERYONE knew that the moment they purchased the team, they planned to move them to Oklahoma City, which is my hometown. I was happy to see them get a team… after I had already moved away. Never the less, the same thing could occur here and if you play your marketing cards the right way, St. Louis could very well have an NBA team in it’s city in the next 5 years!
I hope they do, because if so, I will be 2 for 2. If I ever leave Jacksonville, you know, they’re probably getting an NBA team sometime soon. Your welcome.