Central Place Theory, the Spatial Dynamics of Professional Sports Teams Relocation and Expansion, and the Public Financing of Stadium Construction
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The increasingly profitable North American professional sports industry drives individual leagues, like the NBA, NFL and NHL, to continue exploration into either league expansion or franchise relocation. This paper examines what determines viable candidates for league expansion and franchise relocation. We apply Central Place Theory (CPT) to display how a rational economic landscape, based purely on population threshold and market size, would place new teams or relocate current ones geographically. However, the presence of human phenomena and auxiliary variables renders a purely rational economic landscape inadequate. We conduct an interview with Dr. Sean Dinces, an expert in political economy and urban history. Through our applications of CPT we determine numerous franchise candidates. Despite having an adequate population and an underserved location, the potential cities are not in talks to acquire an additional professional sports team. Our interview with Sean Dinces assists our process of identifying the outlying variables that are prohibiting these suitable cities from franchise acquisition. We conclude that the sports landscape does not resemble a rational economic world and identify the government's willingness to publicly subsidize stadiums as one of the primary factors affecting franchise relocation and league expansion.
Central Place Theory