Could Tampa have an NBA team in the near future?
With the Tampa Bay Lightning winning two consecutive Stanley Cups, aiming for a third, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers winning a Super Bowl last season, the Tampa area is now fairly labeled "Champa Bay." Following our sports teams’ success, the topic of Tampa landing an NBA team resurfaces.
The city of Tampa is the largest market in the US without a team in the NBA. In many ways, it makes sense for Tampa to get a team. "I would love to have an NBA team here in Tampa," Mayor Jane Castor told Bay News 9. Olivia Campbell, a research analyst at Whitecap Sports Group, agrees. "I believe an NBA team in Tampa Bay would be successful, especially with all of our recent success with our local sports teams. Everybody enjoys a winning sports city."
However, could this cause complications with the Orlando Magic? With Tampa's proximity to Orlando the locations might be too close. Would the NBA permit two teams in an 85-mile radius? In 1993, Tampa requested a place in the NBA expansion franchise and was rejected because of the Magic. But could things have changed since 1993?
The possibility of an NBA team in Tampa raises other questions. Recent NBA expansions have generally avoided cities with NHL teams, especially those in smaller markets like Tampa. Could the region afford to support an NBA team in addition to the Bucs, Rays and the Lightning? Also, if Tampa were to bring in an NBA team, would games be played in Amalie Arena? If so, with the Lightning playing every other night, the arena would receive double the amount of sports fans and support. That would not only be great exposure for our city but double the revenue Amalie Arena makes.
Because of the pandemic, Amalie Arena became the temporary home for the Toronto Raptors for their 2020-2021 season, bringing in fans from both the Tampa region and Canada. This gave Tampa residents the opportunity to experience having a basketball team at their home arena.
With NBA Commissioner Adam Silver stating in a public press conference that the league is currently looking to expand beyond the current 30 teams, now seems like a great opportunity for Tampa to step up to the line and take a shot.
Let us know what you think.. visit our Instagram @whitecapsports & LinkedIn @Whitecap Sports Group. We enjoy hearing back from you all!
By: Madison Moore