Which City Most Deserves a Pro Sports Team?

Recently debate has heated up regarding bringing a professional hockey or basketball team to Hartford, Connecticut. Since the Hartford Whalers left the city in 1997, Hartford has been without a major professional franchise. Back in 1999 there was hope that the New England Patriots would move to the city, but that deal fell through. Personally, I think an NBA team in Hartford would thrive. College basketball is huge in Connecticut with the success of both the UConn men’s and women’s programs. As a UConn law student, I know how hard it is to get tickets to these events. Just think of all the former Huskies playing in the NBA. A few of the former Huskies in the NBA are Caron Butler of the Wizards, Rip Hamilton of the Pistons, Ray Allen of the Celtics, Emeka Okafor of the Bobcats, Ben Gordon of the Bulls, Charlie Villanueva of the Bucks, Rudy Gay of the Grizzlies, Josh Boone of the Nets, Marcus Williams of the Warriors and Hilton Armstrong of the Hornets. That’s ten teams right there with former UConn players, not to mentioned future players like Hasheem Thabeet. Each night one of these teams played in Hartford there would be a packed house. Add to that big crowds to watch the likes of Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade, Carmello Anthony Lebron James and Tim Duncan and a NBA franchise in Hartford would thrive.

It appears that it is more likely that NHL will return to Hartford, which I do not think is a great idea. The Whalers proved that a hockey team will not thrive in the city. Hartford Mayor Eddie Perez and NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman met to discuss the possibility of the NHL returning to Hartford, but talks have stalled due to Mayor Perez’s recent arrest. While for personal reasons I think Hartford deserves a sports team, I am curious to hear from others what city you think most deserves a pro sports team.

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  • Matt Bishoff

    I’m not buying this argument for Hartford getting a NBA team, because they had college players there. I don’t think you are going to sell out a game just to see Josh Boone put up 5 points. If this line of thinking was correct, the AAFL would not have gone out of business before their first game. I am not against Hartford getting a NBA team. The bigger name players like Okafor or Allen may cause a slight spike in attendace(especially in the first season), but over time I just do not seeing it being a factor.

  • Dominic

    I disagree. Its not just the fact that UConn has a number of players in the NBA, but the fact that the success of the UConn program has made basketball the most popular sport in the state. Even the WNBA’s CT Sun have had success in the state, and I think the success of UConn’s womens team has created a strong fan base. http://www.wnba.com/sun/news/sun_shines_connecticut.html

  • John

    I would say Vegas and St.Louis are up there too

  • Kevin

    Hartford failed as a hockey market due to the wretched stadium. Hartford would fail in the NBA for a completely different reason though. The college market truly doesn’t transfer to the pro market. Otherwise Raleigh/Durham would have a perfect NBA fan base.

  • derrick robisnon

    john- i agree with vegas, but st. louis already has pro teams such as the cardinals and the rams idk why you mentioned their name.

  • Bob

    I don’t know why there is debate of the NBA. Ask anybody in CT what sports team they would want….EVERYBODY would say hockey. Everywhere you go in the city where there is a large mass of people, a “LETS GO WHALERS” chant started. A new stadium, new NHL team, and great fan base will make an NHL team succeed in the hartford. Players would want to come here just to put that jersey on.

  • Derek

    Don't you think Pittsburgh is missing an NBA team. Basketball could do really well there… and it would give them an excuse to build a new area to replace that rundown melon arena.

  • How Los Angeles, the 2nd most populated U.S. city, is without a football team is beyond me. And don't tell me that the Raiders are L.A.'s team. That's like saying that everyone in Orlando should root for the Bucs.

  • Carnsar86

    There are only 129,000 people in Hartford. Take Omaha, NE as a better pick. As the 42nd biggest city in the US with 408,000 people, that means it is larger than ten cities that contain professional football teams, Omaha has a total of 0 professional teams. Omaha has amateur indoor soccer and AAA Baseball. Omaha is by far more deserving. Consider the distance from Hartford to another pro team. Omaha to the next nearest pro team is over a 4 hour drive away.