Expansion team

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An expansion team is a brand new team in a sports league, usually from a city that has not hosted a team in that league before, and formed with the intention of satisfying the demand for a local team from a population in a new area. Sporting leagues also hope that expansion of their competition will grow the popularity of the sport generally. The term is most commonly used in reference to the North American major professional sports leagues, but is applied to sports leagues worldwide that use a closed franchise system of league membership. The term comes from the expansion of the sport into new areas. This sometimes results in the payment of an expansion fee to the league by the new team, and an expansion draft to populate the new roster.

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Reason for expansion[edit]

In North America, expansion often takes place in response to population growth and geographic shifts of population. Such demographic change results in financial opportunities to engage with the new market as consumers of sports demand local teams to support. Major League Baseball (MLB) was limited to 16 teams located north and east of St. Louis, Missouri for the first half of the 20th century. During this time, the United States population doubled and expanded to the south and west. Rival interests explored the possibility of forming a rival league in these untapped markets. To forestall this possibility, one of the measures MLB took was to expand by four teams in 1961 and 1962. Over the past four decades, MLB expanded further to its current 30-team membership. In the context of MLB, the term "expansion team" is also used to refer to any of the 14 teams enfranchised in the second half of the 20th century.

When an expansion team begins play, it is generally stocked with less talented free agents and inexperienced players. Additionally, prospective owners may face expensive fees to the league as well as high start-up costs such as stadiums and facilities. As a result, most expansion teams are known for their poor play during their first few seasons. This can be exacerbated by the fact that leagues sometimes expand by two or four teams in one season for scheduling reasons, such as eliminating the possibility of a team being without an opponent on a preferred date due to an odd number of teams. In those cases, expansion teams must compete with their expansion rivals for available talent. Expansion teams are not usually doomed to mediocrity forever, as most leagues have policies which promote parity, such as drafts and salary caps, which gives some expansion teams the opportunity to win championships only a few years after their first season. The Arizona Diamondbacks won the 2001 World Series only three years after the team's 1998 founding, even though Major League Baseball is generally considered among the least conducive to parity, due to the lack of a salary cap. Similarly, in the 1996 NFL season, only the second year of the Carolina Panthers' and Jacksonville Jaguars' existences, both teams finished conference runner-up. The Florida Panthers made the Stanley Cup Finals in only their 3rd season in the National Hockey League (NHL).

Most teams are considered as an expansion team usually in their first season and sometimes in their second season, although, especially for purists, Major League Baseball teams can be considered "expansion teams" indefinitely. A team that moves to another location and/or changes its name is not an expansion team. If they move, they are known as a relocated team, and if the name changes they are known as a renamed team. In response to a negative attitude some fans have towards relocated teams,[according to whom?] there have recently been instances where relocating clubs change their identity completely; name, colours and mascot, but because the roster is the same, and because the league does not expand as a result, they are not regarded as expansion teams. An exception is the Baltimore Ravens of the National Football League (NFL). When the Cleveland Browns moved to Baltimore an agreement was reached whereby the history of the pre-1996 Cleveland Browns remained in that city and was claimed by the post-1999 Browns when the league placed a new franchise there; even though the actual team and roster had moved to Baltimore to become the Ravens.[citation needed]

Cities and regions with large populations that lack a team are generally regarded to be the best candidates for new teams. For example, the NFL has recently considered Los Angeles, California to be the best possibility for a brand new NFL team.[citation needed] Toronto, Ontario is its second choice.[citation needed][according to whom?] San Antonio, Texas has also been considered a possible location for expansion.[citation needed] The European Super League in rugby league has added teams from France and Wales to cover a great demographic spread.

A-League[edit]

2007[edit]

2009[edit]

2010[edit]

2012[edit]

Arena Football League[edit]

2011[edit]

2014[edit]

Australian Football League[edit]

1908[edit]

1925[edit]

1987[edit]

1991[edit]

1995[edit]

1997[edit]

2011[edit]

2012[edit]

Canadian Football League[edit]

1993[edit]

1994[edit]

  • Baltimore Stallions (technically defunct) - The Stallions were the most successful team in the CFL's U.S. experiment, winning the Grey Cup in 1995. However, the impending relocation of the NFL's Cleveland Browns to Baltimore led the team to depart for Montreal, where it became the current version of the Montreal Alouettes. Despite this history, the CFL does not recognize the link between the Stallions and Alouettes, instead treating the Alouettes as a continuation of past CFL teams in Montreal.
  • Las Vegas Posse (defunct) - Also part of the CFL's failed U.S. experiment.
  • Shreveport Pirates (defunct) - Also part of the CFL's failed U.S. experiment.

1995[edit]

2002[edit]

2014[edit]

Indian Premier League[edit]

2011[edit]

Jim Beam Cup[edit]

2008[edit]

Kontinental Hockey League[edit]

2009[edit]

2010[edit]

2011[edit]

  • Lev Poprad
    • This team, based in Slovakia, was purchased after its first KHL season (2011–12) by Czech interests. It was disbanded and replaced by the similarly named Lev Praha. The latter team folded at the end of the 2013–14 season.

2012[edit]

2013[edit]

Major League Baseball[edit]

1961[edit]

1962[edit]

1969[edit]

1977[edit]

1993[edit]

1998[edit]

Major League Lacrosse[edit]

2006[edit]

2009[edit]

2012[edit]

2014[edit]

  • Florida Launch (Though the league considers it an expansion, it was a relocation of the management and player assets from the Hamilton Nationals, though the name, colors and team history remained in Hamilton)

Major League Soccer[edit]

1998[edit]

2005[edit]

  • Chivas USA (folded by the league)
    • Although the team tentatively known as Los Angeles F.C. will effectively replace Chivas in 2017, it will not share any of Chivas' history.
  • Real Salt Lake

2006[edit]

  • Houston Dynamo (though they maintained the roster of the San Jose Earthquakes)

2007[edit]

2008[edit]

2009[edit]

2010[edit]

2011[edit]

2012[edit]

2015[edit]

2017[edit]

2017 or 2018[edit]

  • Minnesota United FC – confirmed to be joining the league; actual date will depend on stadium completion and the actual entry of Los Angeles FC

National Basketball Association[edit]

1961[edit]

1966[edit]

1967[edit]

1968[edit]

1970[edit]

1974[edit]

1976[edit]

1980[edit]

1988[edit]

  • Miami Heat
  • Charlotte Hornets – The history of this franchise is detailed as follows:
    • 2002 – Franchise moves to New Orleans, keeping the Hornets name until becoming the New Orleans Pelicans prior to the 2013–14 season.
    • 2004 – The NBA returns to Charlotte with the expansion Charlotte Bobcats franchise.
    • 2014 – Following the New Orleans team's name change, the Bobcats reclaim the Hornets name effective with the 2014–15 season. In addition, the Hornets, Pelicans, and NBA agree that all history and records of every previous NBA team in Charlotte (including the original Charlotte Hornets) would belong to the revived Hornets.[1]

1989[edit]

1995[edit]

2002[edit]

  • New Orleans Hornets (now New Orleans Pelicans) – Following the 2014 assumption of the original Charlotte Hornets' history by the revived Charlotte Hornets, the Pelicans are now officially considered an expansion team that began play in the 2002–03 season.[1]

National Basketball League[edit]

1980[edit]

1981[edit]

  • Forestville Eagles (now currently playing ABA)

1982[edit]

1983[edit]

1984[edit]

1988[edit]

  • Sydney Kings (merger of Sydney Supersonics & West Sydney Westars)

1990[edit]

1992[edit]

1993[edit]

1998[edit]

1999[edit]

2004[edit]

2006[edit]

2007[edit]

2015[edit]

  • Brisbane Team

National Football League[edit]

1919[edit]

1920[edit]

1925[edit]

1931[edit]

1932[edit]

1933[edit]

1936[edit]

1950[edit]

Cleveland Browns- The history of this franchise is treated as follows:

  • 1996- The team moves to Baltimore, becoming the Ravens
  • 1999- Following the 1999 assumption of the Browns, the revived Browns received sole possession of history and records from the Ravens' time in Cleveland. While the history and records since the move to Baltimore remained with the Ravens.

San Francisco 49ers also join NFL after merger with All-America Football Conference.

1953[edit]

1960[edit]

1961[edit]

1966[edit]

1967[edit]

1970[edit]

1976[edit]

1995[edit]

1996[edit]

  • Baltimore Ravens - Following the 1999 assumption of the Cleveland Browns' history by the revived Cleveland Browns, the Baltimore Ravens are officially an expansion team that began play in the 1996 season.

2002[edit]

National Hockey League[edit]

1909[edit]

1917[edit]

1924[edit]

1925[edit]

1926[edit]

1967[edit]

1970[edit]

1972[edit]

1974[edit]

1979[edit]

1991[edit]

1992[edit]

1993[edit]

1998[edit]

1999[edit]

2000[edit]

National Lacrosse League[edit]

1989[edit]

1990[edit]

1992[edit]

1995[edit]

1996[edit]

1998[edit]

2000[edit]

2001[edit]

2002[edit]

2005[edit]

2006[edit]

2007[edit]

2009[edit]

National Rugby League[edit]

1910[edit]

1920[edit]

1921[edit]

1935[edit]

1947[edit]

1967[edit]

1982[edit]

1988[edit]

1995[edit]

1998[edit]

1999[edit]

2007[edit]

National Women's Soccer League[edit]

2014[edit]

New South Wales Cup[edit]

2007[edit]

Northern Territory Football League[edit]

2006[edit]

Ontario Hockey League[edit]

1991[edit]

1995[edit]

1998[edit]

Philippine Basketball Association[edit]

1978[edit]

  • Filmanbank Bankers

1979[edit]

1980[edit]

  • CDCP Shippers

1983[edit]

  • Manhattan

1984[edit]

  • Manila Beer

1985[edit]

1986[edit]

1988[edit]

1990[edit]

1993[edit]

1999[edit]

2000[edit]

2002[edit]

2006[edit]

  • Welcoat Dragons (from the PBL, note that the promotion and relegation system was not used .)

2014[edit]

Pro12[edit]

2010[edit]

  • Aironi – A team formed specifically for the competition by several existing clubs in Northern Italy, with Viadana the lead side. The team folded when the Italian Rugby Federation (FIR) revoked its professional license effective with the end of the 2011–12 Pro12 season; it was replaced by the FIR-operated Zebre.
  • Benetton Treviso – Founded in 1932, it competed in Italian domestic leagues before joining what is now known as Pro12.

Quebec Major Junior Hockey League[edit]

2005[edit]

2012[edit]

Queensland Cup[edit]

2008[edit]

Super League (Australia)[edit]

1997[edit]

Super League[edit]

1995[edit]

2006[edit]

2009[edit]

  • Celtic Crusaders (later Crusaders Rugby League) – An expansion team only in the sense that they were invited into Super League. The club were established in 2005. After the 2011 season, the club folded due to financial problems; their effective successor club, the North Wales Crusaders, currently compete in Championship 1, two levels below Super League.
  • Salford City Reds – Also technically not an expansion team; they have existed since 1873, and played in Super League as recently as the 2007 season.

2012[edit]

  • Widnes Vikings – An expansion team only in the sense that they have been invited into the now-franchised Super League. The club have existed since 1875, were founding members of what is now the Rugby Football League in 1895, and participated in Super League as recently as 2005.

Super Rugby[edit]

2006[edit]

2011[edit]

2016[edit]

  • Argentine team
  • Japanese team

United Football League (2009)[edit]

2010[edit]

2011[edit]

Victorian Football League[edit]

1998[edit]

2001[edit]

Vodacom Cup[edit]

2010[edit]

  • Welwitschias (a developmental side for the Namibia national rugby union team).
    • This was the second time Namibia participated in the competition; it entered a team from 1999 to 2001. The team withdrew from the competition after the 2011 season due to financial constraints.
  • Pampas XV (a developmental side for the Argentina national rugby union team)
    • Argentina left the Vodacom Cup after the 2013 season, choosing instead to enter the IRB Pacific Cup from 2014. At that time, it was also expected that Argentina would be added to Super Rugby in the near future,[2] and the country would eventually receive a Super Rugby team beginning in 2016.

VTB United League[edit]

2010[edit]

West Australian Football League[edit]

1997[edit]

Western Hockey League[edit]

1991[edit]

1992[edit]

Red Deer Rebels

1995[edit]

1996[edit]

2001[edit]

2003[edit]

2006[edit]

2007[edit]

Women's National Basketball Association[edit]

1998[edit]

1999[edit]

2000[edit]

2006[edit]

2008[edit]

Women's National Basketball League[edit]

1983[edit]

  • AIS (defunct)

1984[edit]

1986[edit]

1989[edit]

1990[edit]

1992[edit]

2001[edit]

2007[edit]

2008[edit]

2015[edit]

  • Brisbane team

Women's Professional Soccer[edit]

2010[edit]

2011[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Charlotte Hornets Name Returns to Carolinas". NBA.com. May 20, 2014. Retrieved May 20, 2014. 
  2. ^ "Radical changes as Argentina plans for the future". ESPN Scrum. 10 December 2013. Retrieved 10 December 2013.