VANCOUVER, June 9, 2014 /CNW/ - Vancouver has the size and wealth to
support another major professional sports franchise within the next 20
years. But the sport would be basketball, not a second team in the
National Hockey League (NHL), according to Power Play: The Business Economics of Pro Sports, a recently-published Conference Board of Canada book that examines the
Canadian pro sport marketplace.
"Although Vancouver's previous basketball experience ended with the
Grizzlies franchise moving to Memphis and some ill-will in the city
toward the National Basketball Association (NBA), the market conditions
exist for another franchise to be successful," said Glen Hodgson, Senior Vice-President and Chief Economist. "With Vancouver's steady
rise in population, high income levels, and a strong corporate
presence, the NBA could return one day, especially if the Canadian
dollar remains strong."
Vancouver's population is expected to increase by more than one million
over the next 20 years and could support another professional sports
While Vancouver could support franchises in hockey, basketball, soccer
and Canadian football by 2035, the market would not be large enough to
support a Major League Baseball franchise or a second National Hockey
The Conference Board's analysis assesses conditions for successful
franchises on three levels:
market pillars: market size, income, corporate presence, and economic
conditions (notably the exchange rate)
league competitive conditions: including caps on player salaries,
revenue sharing, and access to player talent
franchise specific factors: ownership and management strength, playing
facilities, and fan support
When the Grizzlies left following the 2000-01 season, the population of
the Vancouver CMA at that time was barely 2 million and the Canadian
dollar was on its way to an historic low. In 2012, the Vancouver region
had almost 2.5 million people, disposable income per capita was fifth
among major Canadian cities, and Vancouver had 94 of Canada's 800
largest corporations (behind Toronto, Calgary and Montreal).
Vancouver's population is projected to increase by more than 1 million
over the next 20 years, and it should attract more corporate
headquarters in that period.
In addition, competitive conditions in the NBA are relatively favourable
for a Vancouver franchise, due to some—albeit modest—constraints on
player salaries. The major challenge will be to find committed
ownership and astute management. Given that the departure of the
previous NBA franchise left hard feelings among many fans and community
leaders, new owners would need to rebuild support for professional
basketball in the Vancouver market.
By 2035, with a projected population of 3.5 million, the Vancouver
market would be large enough to sustain a franchise in each of the NHL,
NBA, Major League Soccer, and the Canadian Football League. Even a
market of that size, however, would not be likely to maintain support
for a Major League Baseball franchise, or second NHL team in the
Released in March, Power Play: The Business Economics of Pro Sports is authored by economists (and passionate sports fans) Glen Hodgson and
Mario Lefebvre. It examines the economic conditions of the communities
that host professional sports franchises, looks at the operating
conditions for pro sports leagues, discusses franchise ownership and
management, and addresses the politically hot topic of who should pay
for new pro sports facilities. It is available in printed and e-book
Join a live webinar by Glen Hodgson and Mario Lefebvre June 18, 2014 at 12:30 p.m. EDT.
For more information, visit http://www.conferenceboard.ca/powerplay.
SOURCE: Conference Board of Canada
For further information:
Brent Dowdall, Media Relations, Tel.: 613- 526-3090 ext. 448