The Sacramento Kings are apparently moving to Anaheim. Kris Hughes apparently thinks that this is doomed to failure because the Kings are failing, the Clippers aren’t really succeeding, and LA has enough teams.

As I have mentioned previously, I think that the professional sports leagues are past-due for an expansion and I think that expansion includes second and third teams in some cities. But I find it hard to disagree with Hughes on this. My only criticism* is that they’re really less a third Los Angeles team and more an Anaheim team. When it comes to baseball and basketball, intra-city regional designations matter. The teams play 82 or 162 games a year. It’s not like football where it’s worth driving two hours from Milwaukee to Green Bay or making the trek from New York to New Jersey is going to be worth it because it’s one of only 16 games, all of which are somewhat important (albeit not important enough). Accessibility matters more because you need fans to come out to more games. Really, it seems to me that the Clippers ought to be moving out to Anaheim rather than pulling in a team from somewhere else.

It’s also worth noting that football, baseball, and basketball have different fan dynamics more generally. Baseball, due in part to the sheer number of games, needs to be in as major of urban areas as possible. And so when you look at the MSAs, it’s easily baseball that sticks most to the most urban of areas. In football, you don’t need population so much as a fanatical fanbase. So Green Bay (with some help from Milwaukee), Buffalo, New Orleans, and Jacksonville get teams while they’re not big enough to in (most) other sports. Revenue-sharing has also probably played a role in Buffalo continuing to host the Bills. Basketball, on the other hand, tends to do really well where there is little competition**. Some of the smallest cities to host professional sports, such as Salt Lake City and Oklahoma City, do well enough with an NBA team (and the NBA touched ground first on cities that have since gotten teams in other sports). But erstwhile middle-large cities with teams in the other major sports, such as Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, and Kansas City, go without.

Los Angeles (and Anaheim) is(/are) famously without a football team, but they have two baseball teams, two other basketball teams, two hockey teams, and a lot of other things to do. It does seem like a stretch. I would think a greater likelihood of success in some other area without other teams. Or, if you really want to be in a large city with other sports teams, San Diego remains the largest city in the country without a team in each of the three major sports.

But I guess Los Angeles has its own appeal. I wonder, to some extent, whether this is at all related to the Angels’ attempts to disown Anaheim in favor of being the most awkwardly-named team in professional sports since the Bossier City/Shreveport Battle Wings. Who wants to be associated with some bush league city when you can be associated with Los Angeles!!. Or, since they would be calling themselves the Anaheim Royals*** rather than Los Angeles somethings-or-other.

* – Okay, I would also criticize the notion of the Dodgers as a “national team.” The Raiders, too, though they were more of a national team when they were in Los Angeles. I’m not sure of causation there, though, because Bo Jackson helped a lot with that.

** – The NBA has six teams in cities without any of the other Big Three (seven if you include Orlando), the NFL has three (four if you include Green Bay), and Major League Baseball has none.

*** – I have to think that they’re the Royals to avoid confusion with the Los Angeles Kings hockey team. One wonders how St. Louis managed to have two Cardinals at the same time.


Category: Elsewhere, Theater

About the Author


19 Responses to The Kings of Anaheim?

  1. Peter says:

    Sports pages used to say “the St. Louis baseball Cardinals” and “the St. Louis football Cardinals.” Not really awkward, and it eliminated any confusion. The same thing happened in New York before the (baseball) Giants moved to San Francisco.

    I’m not sure that the Sacramento Kings would have to rename themselves the Royals if they moved to Anaheim. Having the Texas Rangers and the New York Rangers confuses no one, probably because hockey is a relatively minor sport in the American sporting pantheon. Granted, the distance between the Staples Center and the Honda Center is a whole lot shorter than the distance between Rangers Ballpark in Arlington and Madison Square Garden, so a name change might be in order. If a name change is necessary, the Monarchs might be a better choice than the Royals, to avoid confusion with the Kansas City baseball team (the NBA is much more significant than the NHL, so there’s more potential for confusion).

  2. David Alexander says:

    the Monarchs might be a better choice than the Royals

    IIRC, the Monarchs was the name of the WNBA team that was affiliated with the Kings.

    FWIW, as somebody that follows the Kings and the Clippers, I’d argue that moving the team to Anaheim could easily end up being a disaster for both teams. The Clippers right now have a bit of a sweet spot in which the team is profitable (due to low salaries and the relative youth of the players), and the games serve as a bit of an overflow for basketball fans who want to see NBA action, but can’t afford costly Lakers tickets. Having another team within the same metropolitan area filling that same niche may end up cannibalizing some of the Clippers’ revenue.

    San Diego remains the largest city in the country without a team in each of the three major sports

    IIRC, aren’t the Chargers still in San Diego?

    FWIW, the Clippers had started off as a team in Buffalo that had moved to San Diego which eventually moved to LA under the current owner…

  3. trumwill says:

    IIRC, the Monarchs was the name of the WNBA team that was affiliated with the Kings.

    The WNBA mostly has a bunch of really lame mascots, and yet at least a few of them – Monarchs, Comets, Rockers – really should have been used in relevant leagues. Then again, maybe since those are all former teams, they can be recycled.

    I’d argue that moving the team to Anaheim could easily end up being a disaster for both teams.

    Your reasoning seems sound to me.

    IIRC, aren’t the Chargers still in San Diego?

    Yeah, and the Padres in baseball. I meant by “in all three leagues” to be missing teams in a single league. Obviously, I forgot the “except for LA” disclaimer.

    FWIW, the Clippers had started off as a team in Buffalo that had moved to San Diego which eventually moved to LA under the current owner…

    I knew that SD used to have a team, but I’d forgotten they had one that recently.

  4. trumwill says:

    More importantly, it’s the same media market. Even though they’re not far away, having Baltimore and DC have a duplicate name wouldn’t be as problematic. On the other hand, differentiating between the two becomes easier when you can point out that one calls themselves LA and the other Anaheim.

  5. Peter says:

    The WNBA mostly has a bunch of really lame mascots

    Case in point: the Connecticut Suns, named after a gambling casino.

    I really wish the Angels could drop the ridiculous “Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim name and just go back to being the California Angels. A much better-sounding name.

  6. trumwill says:

    I really wish the Angels could drop the ridiculous “Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim name and just go back to being the California Angels.

    They can’t. They would have to be the California Angels of Anaheim. Part of the deal when they got their new stadium was that “Anaheim” would have to be in their team name for x-number of years. You can bet that whenever that just as soon as that term expires, they’ll just be the Los Angeles Angels.

    I think that California Angels was really the best name. They’re not in Los Angeles and a lot of their fanbase isn’t in Anaheim proper.

  7. Maria says:

    LA is an overwhelmingly Mexican town and they are not especially fond of hockey, although they love baseball and soccer.

    That’s also probably why they don’t have an NFL team. I miss the Rams even though I despised them growing up. They were always good for sneers as the despised rival to the beloved Niners.

    Now I save my sneering for USC.

  8. trumwill says:

    They still manage to have an NHL team, though.

    Now I save my sneering for USC.

    As everyone should!

  9. CGHill says:

    In fact, from 1945 through 1972 the team was called the Royals, first in Rochester, then in Cincinnati. The Kings name didn’t appear until they relocated to Kansas City – where “Royals,” of course, is the Major League Baseball club.

  10. Mike Hunt says:

    I knew that SD used to have a team, but I’d forgotten they had one that recently.

    Hell, the NBA has failed in SD TWICE. The Rockets used to play there too.

    CGHill: In fact, from 1945 through 1972 the team was called the Royals, first in Rochester, then in Cincinnati. The Kings name didn’t appear until they relocated to Kansas City – where “Royals,” of course, is the Major League Baseball club.

    You beat me to it. Anyway, the current Kings don’t acknowledge their pre-Sacramento hustory, so one of the greatest players in NBA history, Oscar Robertson, is “homeless”, since his greatest years came with the Cincinnati Royals.

    ===

    This move to Anaheim will result in one of two things. If it succeeds then it succeeds; if it fails then they will move to Las Vegas.

    When they move to Anaheim they will have to change their name back to the Royals, since it has become unacceptable to have two teams with the same nickname in the same media market. It worked in 1960 when the football Cardinals moved to St Louis because back then baseball was the premier sport in the country. For the same reason, the legal name of my local NFC team is The New York Football Giants, even though the baseball team left in 1957.

  11. trumwill says:

    Anyway, the current Kings don’t acknowledge their pre-Sacramento hustory, so one of the greatest players in NBA history, Oscar Robertson, is “homeless”, since his greatest years came with the Cincinnati Royals.

    Maybe they will reclaim that history if they move to Anaheim?

    You know, it’s actually interesting how some of these relocations work. The Cardinals football team moves to St. Louis, where such a team already exists. The Royals move to Kansas City, same deal. A team named the Rockets moves to a city linked to space. I think the Edmonton Oilers flirted with Houston for a while, too.

    On the other hand, though, we have the Utah Jazz. I propose a three-way trade. Jazz back to New Orleans, Hornets back to Charlotte (known for its bugs), and Bobcats to Utah (where Bobcats are).

    This move to Anaheim will result in one of two things. If it succeeds then it succeeds; if it fails then they will move to Las Vegas.

    Vegas really seemed on the cusp of getting a team a few years ago (the Grizzlies? Or an expansion team? Can’t recall). Given how their economy has gone in the crapper, though, I’m not sure it’s as attractive as it used to be.

    It worked in 1960 when the football Cardinals moved to St Louis because back then baseball was the premier sport in the country. For the same reason, the legal name of my local NFC team is The New York Football Giants, even though the baseball team left in 1957.

    I’m sure it’s because I’m not a local, but it seems to me that one of the New York teams ought to take the name New Jersey. I know they both play in the same stadium and so there’s geographically no functional difference between them, but staking out identity strikes me as a good thing.

    Along those lines, a long time ago I had a football game on the Amiga computer. They didn’t have the rights to the NFL team names, but they nonetheless had nameless city teams with colors that matched those of the NFL. At some point early on it occurred to me that there were two New York and Los Angeles teams and I wondered what they did about that. Quite sensibly, they put the yellow-and-blue team in Anaheim and the navy-and-red team in New Jersey.

    They’ve taken all the fun out of those games, though, now that almost all of them are licensed by the professional leagues. EA Sports almost helped that by signing exclusive contracts, but the non-licensed games didn’t really succeed. Though I never played the game, I read over the mock history of the Blitz league. I appreciated their effort, but it was obviously written by someone without much of any knowledge in history of American urban population timelines. The other game (notorious for its OJ Simpson reference) had only 24 teams and a couple teams in cities that don’t have teams. I think that they should have gone all out. Have something like 50 with teams in cities that don’t have any. Someone from Hartford might think it’s really cool to have a Hartford team.

  12. Peter says:

    Someone from Hartford might think it’s really cool to have a Hartford team.

    Back in the late 1980’s some Connecticut business interests mounted a campaign to get the Patriots to relocate to Hartford. It didn’t get far, mainly because Hartford is a much smaller market than Boston and because there was no stadium.

  13. Peter says:

    Anyway, the current Kings don’t acknowledge their pre-Sacramento history

    The New York Mets regard themselves as the successors to the Brooklyn Dodgers, complete with a statue of Jackie Robinson in Citifield’s “Jackie Robinson Rotunda.” Everyone seems to forget that the Los Angeles Dodgers are the successors to the Brooklyn Dodgers.

  14. Mike Hunt says:

    Peter: there was no stadium [in Hartford]

    As an aside, the planned stadium was scaled down and is now used by UConn’s football team, which is now Division I FBS, and won the Big East last year.

    Peter: The New York Mets regard themselves as the successors to the Brooklyn Dodgers, complete with a statue of Jackie Robinson in Citifield’s “Jackie Robinson Rotunda.”

    This is because Fred Wilpon went to high school with Sandy Koufax. From what I understand, Mets fans are quite annoyed with the Dodgers references in the new stadium. The reason it doesn’t work in this case is that the LA Dodgers embrace their past, as do the SF Giants. Changing gears, I think the Nets, when they move to Brooklyn, should change their name to the Dodgers…

    At some point early on it occurred to me that there were two New York and Los Angeles teams and I wondered what they did about that. Quite sensibly, they put the yellow-and-blue team in Anaheim and the navy-and-red team in New Jersey.

    In an early version of Madden, they made the blue and red team “New York” and the green team “New Jersey”. Similarly, they called the blue and yellow team “Los Angeles” and the silver and black team “Oakland”. This was back when LA had two teams. Since the real-life Madden didn’t coach in LA, he changed the Raiders back to their old (and now current) home.

    I’m sure it’s because I’m not a local, but it seems to me that one of the New York teams ought to take the name New Jersey.

    From a logical standpoint, it should be the Giants, because New Jersey tends to root for the Giants and because they moved to NJ first. However, the Giants ownership would never ever do it. He was asked in 1972, when they first agreed to move, and it was a no then.

    For those not from the area, the Giants fan base is pretty much northern NJ, southern NY, southwest CT, Bronx and Manhattan. The Islands (Staten and Long) root for the Jets. The breakdown for Yankees and Mets is similar, except SI goes for the Yankees, since they have a minor league team there.

  15. Peter says:

    As an aside, the planned stadium was scaled down and is now used by UConn’s football team, which is now Division I FBS, and won the Big East last year.

    From what I can recall, which isn’t much (my father was very peripherally involved with the team relocation effort, but I only spoke with him about it a couple of times), the planned Patriots stadium would have been somewhere in the North Meadows, to the west of the river. At the time Pratt & Whitney was still using the airport in East Hartford that subsequently became the site of the UConn stadium.

    One thing I do remember is that had the idea come to pass the Patriots would have relocated to Hartford at least one season before the new stadium would have been ready. They would have had to play more than 30 miles away at the Yale Bowl, which has plenty of seats but is otherwise way short of NFL standards (though the Giants spent a season there in the 1970’s). Even if Hartford had had a modern stadium all set to go, it’s very unlikely that the Patriots would have considered relocating, as they were doing just fine outside of Boston.

  16. trumwill says:

    The New York Mets regard themselves as the successors to the Brooklyn Dodgers, complete with a statue of Jackie Robinson in Citifield’s “Jackie Robinson Rotunda.”

    And yet they took the Giants insignia.

    Since the real-life Madden didn’t coach in LA, he changed the Raiders back to their old (and now current) home.

    That’s pretty logical. I learned all about football through Madden for the Applie ][e. The game didn’t even have leagues and the teams didn’t have covers. But one of the teams “the Blitzers” was apparently supposed to be Madden’s Raiders. I can’t remember who the other team, the Ringers, was supposed to be.

    The breakdown for Yankees and Mets is similar, except SI goes for the Yankees, since they have a minor league team there.

    Even though I knew that they were in a different part of town, I still assumed the Mets were primarily from New Yorkers who declined to root for the Yankees.

    He was asked in 1972, when they first agreed to move, and it was a no then.

    They should have forced it into the contract like Anaheim did. Then they could be the New York Football Giants of New Jersey.

  17. Mike Hunt says:

    Peter: the planned Patriots stadium would have been somewhere in the North Meadows, to the west of the river.

    Yes you are right, I forgot the scaling down included moving the stadium location. Is your dad still around? If so, I think the whole topic would make an interesting book, especially considering the Patriots’ success since then.

    And yet [the Mets] took the Giants insignia.

    Well the idea behind the Mets’ original uniforms would be that they would take their insignia from the Giants, their cap and helmet color (blue) from the Dodgers, and the pinstripes on their home uniforms from Yankees.

    Even though I knew that they were in a different part of town, I still assumed the Mets were primarily from New Yorkers who declined to root for the Yankees.

    Well Long Island technically includes Brooklyn and Queens, which are also part of NYC. Long Island has over 7.5 million people. The rest of the NYC DMA that is in NY is only 5.7 million. So among New Yorkers, the Mets are more popular; it is NJ and CT that give the Yankees the bigger fan base. 25 years ago, the Mets were more popular overall than the Yankees, and the Mets drew 3 million fans way before the Yankees ever did.

  18. trumwill says:

    Well the idea behind the Mets’ original uniforms would be that they would take their insignia from the Giants, their cap and helmet color (blue) from the Dodgers, and the pinstripes on their home uniforms from Yankees.

    That sounds familiar, now that you mention it.

    25 years ago, the Mets were more popular overall than the Yankees, and the Mets drew 3 million fans way before the Yankees ever did.

    Interesting (though worth noting that 25 years back from this season, the Mets were a World Series team and the Yankees were unusually far away from WS appearances).

  19. Mike Hunt says:

    They should have forced it into the contract like Anaheim did. Then they could be the New York Football Giants of New Jersey.

    I forgot to mention earlier. NJ was too wimpy to insist on it back then, even though they paid for the stadium. The Giants could have played in Westchester County if NJ was insistent. We will never know if the Giants would have blinked.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

If you are interested in subscribing to new post notifications,
please enter your email address on this page.