Expansion Of The MLB “Inevitable” With Nashville & Salt Lake City As Leading Contenders

Nashville stars
Nashville Stars

Rumors of an expansion in the MLB have flown around for years, and based on these new reports, those rumors might have some legs.

Major League Baseball hasn’t seen an expansion franchise added since 1998, when the Arizona Diamondbacks and Tampa Bay Devil Rays joined the league to get the total number of teams up to 30.

Over 25 years have gone by now since those additions, and professional baseball still sits at 30 total teams. That’s not necessarily out of the norm, considering that the NBA and NFL have only had one expansion team a piece since the turn of the century.

The only professional sports league that has seen more expansion in the past 24 years has been the NHL, who had added four teams (most recently the Seattle Kraken) to their existing league since 2000.

But that will change soon enough as the MLB prepares to bring on two additional teams to bring the total to a 32-team league. There’s nothing set in stone as of right now, but ESPN columnist and die-hard baseball fan Jeff Passan described the eventual expansion as “inevitable.”

However, “inevitable” was used somewhat loosely as the belief is that the expansion won’t take place until the early 2030s. An owner to spoke anonymously to ESPN said this about the prospect of adding teams to the existing 30 franchises:

“It hasn’t been much of a topic of conversation. Everybody knows what’s going to happen eventually, but it’s so far off that people just haven’t focused on it.”

So though the actual expansion might not take place for quite some time, it’s believed that when the time does come, the ideal scenario would see one team added in the western United States, and the other (you guessed it) in the east.

That lays out the framework for what many have speculated about all along, with Nashville, Tennessee and Salt Lake City, Utah being the favorites as expansion candidates:

Both cities have formed “groups” that have pushed for the MLB to come to their cities. Nashville’s “Music City Baseball group” and Salt Lake City’s “Big League Utah” have both made cases on behalf of their cities to show why they would be the right choice for expansion.

If they were to beat out some of the other contenders vying to be expansion sites (Charlotte, NC; Austin, TX; Mexico City, etc.), they would be rewarded with an expansion fee that is estimated to be 10 times the amount that expansion teams paid in 1998.

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock