Las Vegas for everything.
Sacramento craves MLB.
These can be argued as some of the biggest gaps in the country. If Las Vegas lands hockey, all mentioned are major league towns.
And last, but not least:
The NFL is absent from the second largest metro in America. Los Angeles.
But hopefully the Rams will be back soon. It's a gaping hole.
The map picture from the New York Times indicates some magnetism surrounding Las Vegas. ( Inland Empire Emperors. #MLBExpansion Relocation and Co-Location Las Vegas MLB )
But what about Portland and Seattle in hockey. Las Vegas is likely to get the nod alongside Seattle. And Portland will be in the same seat as Sacramento with just an NBA team in the bigs. No doubt each league is craving to get to that sin city sandwich first, even as it lays between southern California and Arizona franchises. Someone wants to be the first big league there. Maybe baseball wouldn't really mind being last. Poor Portland has proximity to the other TV markets and plays bridesmaid to Seattle. It's bigger than a few current (though historical) baseball markets.
Honorable mentions out west outside of the Inland Empire and northern California for future consideration are Boise, Salt Lake City and maybe even Albuquerque.
Other honorable mentions throughout the blog include the likes of Austin (75 miles and 150 from San Antonio and Houston), Louisville (100 from Cincinnati and Indianapolis) and other future newbies.
Let's put the NHL in the more magnetized and foghorn sounding northwest, the NFL in LA
and hit them newbies in Austin and Louisville. The NFL is sustainable as a weekly venue in OKC or Little Rock. If you consider my share idea (a (tag) team for two cities), this can happen very soon for any sport, not necessarily needing to expand the number of teams in a league. ie. Putting the California Angels in Sacramento, also (or Oakland, then freeing up the A's to play in Portland and Las Vegas as the West Coast A's). Raiders?