I recently caught up with Rick Curti the owner and CEO of the Charlotte Bats. Rick shared with me that he is very optimistic that he can bring the MLB to Charlotte, North Carolina, especially due to Commissioner Manfred’s recent inquiry about expanding. Commissioner Manfred stated 6 possible cities that the MLB is looking into
expanding into. The cities along with Charlotte are Portland, Las Vegas, Nashville, Montreal and Vancouver. The earliest timeline expansion could take place is after both the Oakland A’s and Tampa Bay Ray’s have successfully moved out of their current stadiums. Tropicana field’s lease is set to expire in 2027 and the team has recently spoke about the possibility of moving to Montreal. After my conversation with Mr. Curti and looking into this further I do believe the MLB is up for expansion. With MLB ratings as low as they have ever been it is time for a change. Branching into new cities will draw in a brand new target audience. The cities listed do not have major sports competition in all sports like a Los Angeles, New York, or Boston. These cities are dying for another sports franchise. Historically the economic impact of landing a major sports franchise has reshaped some cities that have struggled. The closest stadium to Charlotte, North Carolina is the Atlanta which is 5 hours away from Charlotte, not really feasible for a day trip for anyone from Charlotte. Bringing this team to Charlotte would give the people of North Carolina easy accessibility as billions of dollars of broadcasting rights and ticket sales. With the recent expansion success in the NHL of the Las Vegas Golden Knights the precedence has been set. The MLB’s governing bodies will need to figure out the structure for the expansion draft but this will still be a great opportunity for Triple A stars to emerge in the Big Leagues.
Mr. Curti has shared his plans for the Charlotte Bats franchise and can be found at www.charlottebats.com He also shared with me some jersey ideas and branding for his new team.
Mr. Curti has gained thousands of supporters over the years and has started this grassroots movement when Manfred took over as commissioner for Bud Selig in January of 2015. He has been working hard for the last 5 years but still has a long way to go. As the days go on Charlotte becomes more and more a viable option for the MLB as Vegas has recently added two teams and it seems Montreal has gained a lot of interest from the Tampa Bay Rays. We hope to stay in touch with Mr. Curti throughout this process.