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Where NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, WNBA, MLS, NWSL will look in expansion

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You can call Seattle a hockey town now. The NHL’s Board of Governors approved the city’s expansion bid on Tuesday, awarding the Emerald City the league’s 32nd franchise.

Which will be the next North American league to test the expansion waters? What cities might be part of that expansion? We asked our experts.

Browse by sport:

NFL | NBA | MLB | NHL | WNBA | MLS | NWSL


NFL

Where will be next: London (but not the way you think)

Although Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan is no longer bidding to buy Wembley Stadium, there is still ample evidence of the NFL’s growing connection with London. A long-delayed NFL-influenced stadium will open at Tottenham in time for next season, for example. But absent the reintroduction of supersonic transatlantic flights, huge logistical obstacles remain for a permanent franchise relocation or expansion.

A London-based NFL team probably would have a lopsided schedule featuring weeks at a time at a North American practice site, and its travel would put it at a serious competitive disadvantage. That’s why many observers think the NFL’s likeliest play is a “virtual” team: eight (or so) regular-season games in London — perhaps split between Wembley and the new Tottenham stadium — that would give U.K. fans and corporate sponsors a full dose of American football while avoiding logistical imbalances.

Where should be next: Mexico City

If the NFL wants a traditionally based international team, Mexico City is more viable than London. It wouldn’t add a trip any longer than teams on either U.S. coast already face. The time zone links up. And unknown to many, the history of American football runs much deeper in Mexico than in Europe.

The relationship hit a logistical bump in November, when a game scheduled for Estadio Azeteca was moved to Los Angeles because of poor field conditions. And the chances of immediate financial success, not to be underestimated, might be better in London.

But part of the calculus must be about giving the franchise a chance to succeed beyond corporate sponsorships. The financial position of a losing team, even in a rich area, is unstable in the long term. From a competitive standpoint, Mexico City is a much better fit.

— Kevin Seifert


NBA

Where will be next: Nowhere

Sure, it’s no fun, but the NBA has no concrete plans for expansion right now, commissioner Adam Silver reiterated in May. “I’m very focused on creating a competitive 30-team league,” Silver said. As the league grapples with competitive balance issues, there are several markets (Memphis and Charlotte most notably) relying on tens of millions in annual support in revenue sharing to remain solvent. Until the NBA’s weakest links are shored up, relocation is far more likely than expansion.

However, in recent years, Sacramento, Milwaukee and Minnesota (renovation) got arena deals that locked them into place. Unsure ownership situations in Memphis and New Orleans also appeared to stabilize in the past year. Right now, even relocation seems unlikely in the short term. Silver agrees that every business needs to focus on growth, and someday the league will likely expand, but that day is not on the horizon.

Where should be next: Mexico City

Enamored with the size of this untapped and basketball-interested market, the NBA has been expanding its business there the past several years. The league has staged multiple regular-season games, recently opened an academy to develop Latin American teens into possible NBA players to drive more interest and has plans to operate a G League team there in the near future.

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MLB

Yonder Alonso of Cleveland Indians traded to Chicago White Sox

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The Chicago White Sox have acquired first baseman Yonder Alonso in a trade with the Cleveland Indians, according to multiple reports.

It wasn’t immediately known whom the Indians would receive in the trade.

Alonso, 31, hit .250 with 23 home runs and 83 RBIs last season for the Indians. A nine-year veteran, Alonso was an All-Star in 2017, when he hit 28 home runs and 67 RBIs for the Oakland A’s and Seattle Mariners.

The White Sox have also expressed interest this offseason in slugger Manny Machado. Alonso is the brother-in-law of Machado.

News of Alonso’s trade was first reported by Stadium.

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MLB

Matt Chapman of Oakland A’s has left shoulder surgery

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OAKLAND, Calif. — Athletics third baseman Matt Chapman had surgery Friday on his left shoulder, his second operation this offseason.

Dr. William Workman performed a distal clavicle resection procedure on Chapman’s shoulder, the team said Friday. Chapman is expected to begin swinging a bat in six weeks.

The team said Chapman felt discomfort in the shoulder during offseason workouts. Chapman also had surgery on his right thumb Oct. 16 and was expected to recover fully from that operation by spring training.

Chapman batted .278 with 24 home runs in a breakout season. He won his first Gold Glove and finished seventh in American League MVP voting.

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MLB

Brandon Hyde hired Baltimore Orioles new manager from Chicago Cubs

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BALTIMORE — The Baltimore Orioles hired Brandon Hyde to be their new manager Friday, hoping his experience as Cubs bench coach will help the team move forward while in rebuilding mode.

Hyde takes over for Buck Showalter, who was fired after Baltimore finished 47-115 — the worst record in the majors. This will be Hyde’s first stint as a major league manager.

Hyde, 45, was selected by general manager Mike Elias, who began an extensive search for Showalter’s replacement after being hired last month to replace Dan Duquette.

“I believe that we have found the ideal leader for the next era of Orioles baseball,” Elias said of Hyde.

Hyde worked as Chicago’s bench coach this year under manager Joe Maddon. He was in the second of three seasons as Cubs first-base coach when the team won the World Series in 2016.

Before that, Hyde served as Rick Renteria’s bench coach in Chicago in 2014. He previously served as Chicago’s director of player development from August 2012 through 2013 after joining the Cubs in December 2011 as their minor league field coordinator.

Prior to joining the Cubs, Hyde spent nine seasons in the Miami Marlins organization. He was Miami’s bench coach from June 2010 through the end of the 2011 season.

“Brandon’s deep background in player development and major league coaching — most recently helping to shape the Cubs into a world champion — has thoroughly prepared him for this job and distinguished him throughout our interview process,” Elias said.

Elias and Hyde will seek to develop a team that shifted into rebuild mode last July under Duquette, who traded away many of the team’s stars — most notably Manny Machado, Zach Britton, Jonathan Schoop and Kevin Gausman — for 15 prospects and international bonus pool money in moves that cut payroll from $151 million to $136 million.

On the day he was introduced by Baltimore, Elias spoke about the significance of landing the right manager to shape the Orioles into a team that can be competitive in the AL East.

“This is an important hire,” Elias said on Nov. 19. “… It’s not something you rush. We want to get the right person for this time.”

Hyde will be formally introduced as the 20th manager in Orioles history on Monday.

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