The NFL is the most popular sports in the United States. Every year over 100 million people watch the Super Bowl while the last 2 of 32 teams standing battle it out for the Lombardi Trophy. But what would happen if the NFL decided to add more teams? What cities would come knocking down the door for the chance to build their own legacy? These are the best cities that could land the next great NFL franchise!
If an event city like Las Vegas can get an NFL team and an NHL team, surely the home of Disney World can join the fun, too. Orlando used the MLS to prove it could host a professional sports team with Orlando City SC.
When Orlando makes the call to the NFL, expect the league to answer.
The home of the Kentucky Derby could be looking to add to its sports resume if the NFL ever decides to expand. Successful college programs and minor league baseball teams have shown the love of sports for the region. The next step is obvious.
Really, it would be a return of football to the region. The last team to call Louisville home was the Colonels in 1926. It’s time to bring the NFL back!
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Getting an NFL team would be a huge boost to the growing professional sports culture in Oklahoma City. Already home to an incredibly successful NBA team, an NFL team would likely thrive there as well.
And if college football is any indication, there is no lacking of football fans in the area!
The home of the Sacramento Kings, the capital of California could be looking to grow its professional sports resume soon with an NFL team. It might not be the most ideal spot, but the city has been trying for years to gain more sports traction.
At one point, the city was set to bring Sacramento Republic FC to MLS, but that deal fell through in early 2021. Will city officials eye the NFL next?
Could the home of the Oregon Ducks go full NFL with an expansion franchise? It would be a tempting location – not only is there an established fan base in the Pacific Northwest, but there is also Nike.
It might seem odd, but for those reasons, and others, players would want to play in Eugene.
Another city with a love of college football, Birmingham, Alabama feels destined to one day have an NFL team to call its own. Other professional leagues have come and gone. The XFL, USFL, and AAF featured teams in Birmingham. Why can’t the NFL?
The real question is this – would the fan base be willing to graduate and go pro too?
The NFL is the only professional American sports league without a team in Canada. The NBA has the Raptors, MLB has the Blue Jays, and both MLS and the NHL have multiple teams. Time to move north NFL!
Toronto would be an ideal hub. Even having to compete with the Canadian Football League wouldn’t be an issue since the NFL can pay the best players in the world the highest salaries.
Several professional sports teams and collegiate teams already call Columbus, Ohio home. If the city could lure an NFL expansion team to its limits, it would become a legitimate sports mecca.
Currently, the city has an NHL team and an MLS team, as well as the always popular Ohio State Buckeyes college football team.
San Antonio, Texas
If we were going to bet on any city getting the next NFL expansion franchise it would be San Antonio. The Spurs have already shown in the NBA just how big a draw the city can be for professional sports.
More convincing, the mayor also said in an interview, “You will see an NFL team in San Antonio in the next 10 years.”
Every year the Pro Bowl is played in Honolulu, so the infrastructure is there to house an NFL team. That gives the city a sizable head start in the quest for an expansion franchise.
The real question is this – are the Honolulu locals really interested in an NFL franchise? How much would a team actually draw weekly in attendance?
Texas loves football, and not many college programs are bigger than the one for the University of Texas. Located in Austin, the school regularly sells out its 100,000 seat stadium. Just imagine how many tickets an NFL team would sell there?
Long known as a college city, the MLS has proven Austin to be viable for professional sports with Austin City Football Club. Could an NFL team be next?
Nebraska loves football. Placing an NFL team in husker territory would be a genius move by the NFL, but it might not be the most logical.
One big issue with Omaha, specifically, would be finding a location to build a stadium. We guarantee an NFL team would not want to share a stadium with its college counterpart.
St. Louis, Missouri
The former home of the Rams should be awarded another NFL team. The way the city, league, and team owner parted ways was messy, but not unfixable.
With that said, would St. Louis even welcome the idea of housing an NFL team again? The fan base is there, but does the passion still exist?
We can’t argue that regionally it would be hard for any new team to come into Connecticut. Being sandwiched between New York and Massachusetts is tough, but that doesn’t mean the league shouldn’t try.
Hartford has a huge untapped market. The largest market in the United States without a regional team. In any of the four major American professional sports leagues.
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Doesn’t the largest city in New Mexico deserve an NFL team? With a population of nearly 600,000, there is no question the fan base would be big enough.
It would also be a good idea for the NFL to place teams in states that currently don’t have ones. Nationally, this would help grow the already sizable audience.
Salt Lake City, Utah
One of the largest “regional holes” in NFL fandom, Salt Lake City would be an ideal spot for the next NFL expansion franchise. The numbers just don’t lie.
The population is well over two million, and the next closest professional sports city is Denver, over 500 miles away. Why isn’t there a team in Salt Lake City already?
In Portland, Oregon, the Timbers currently reign supreme. The Major League Soccer team draws huge crowds every game, making us believe that this city in the Pacific Northwest would embrace the draw of an NFL team.
With the success of the Timbers, it’s only a matter of time before Portland gets another professional sports franchise, the question is whether it will be the NFL, NHL, MLB, or the NBA.
San Diego, California
Another city looking to bring the NFL back home could be San Diego, California, the former home of the Chargers. Unable to find funding for a new stadium, the team moved to Los Angeles to share a stadium with the Rams.
If a new stadium could be built, after years of turmoil, it stands to reason that the NFL would still find San Diego to be an ideal city for a franchise.
An NFL stadium in Alaska would have to be a dome, and that’s just one of many challenges of placing a team there. Would players want to travel there weekly? Would anyone want to call Anchorage their home?
Still, the idea of getting a team to Alaska is undeniably interesting. The fan base there has untapped potential.
It’s no secret the NFL is looking to expand its international influence. With yearly games already taking place in Mexico City and London, could a wildcard city swoop in and steal an NFL team away?
Al-Wakrah, Qatar might not have the biggest name recognition of the bunch, but it does have a shiny new stadium built for the 2022 FIFA World Cup that could easily be converted into an American football stadium.
Fargo, North Dakota
Currently dominated by North Dakota State University football, Fargo is a city itching for an upgrade. The fanbase for NDSU is rabid, and the dominance of the school at the FBS level has only helped grow support in the area.
Getting a team would also likely help improve recruiting clout for the local university – a win/win!
El Paso, Texas
El Paso, Texas has a population of over 600,000 and could easily support an NFL franchise. It seems absurd to us that while California and New York both have three teams, the lone star state only has two.
The easy fix would be an expansion franchise, and El Paso, like San Antonio, would be a perfect fit.
The Raiders left Oakland high and dry for Las Vegas, but the fanbase for football in the East Bay is still hungry. If a stadium could get built, the city could lure the league back.
The history of football in Oakland is a rich one and deserves to continue in the future in some capacity.
Before Nashville ended up being the home of the Titans, Memphis had submitted a proposal to the NFL. The leagued passed at the time, but could they revisit the city in the future?
Memphis already boasts a strong college football fanbase, so the transition to the pros should be pretty easy.
Mexico City, Mexico
When the Raiders were moving out of Oakland, Mexico City was looked at as a possible landing spot. The city already hosts an international game yearly, so moving a franchise there permanently would make some sense.
Like Canada, sending a team across the border would be a quick and easy way for the NFL to expand internationally.