Originally Posted by Prometheus
The appeal of MLB in Vancouver should not be underestimated. Baseball has always been a very popular and widely-played sport in the Lower Mainland. And the Lower Mainland has always been a hotbed of baseball talent, sending an inordinate number of players to the major leagues. Of the current Canadian players in MLB, a strong plurality come from Metro Vancouver. Little League and competitive youth baseball is highly developed in British Columbia. In fact, British Columbia became the first place outside of the U.S. to join Little League Baseball, joining in 1951. Langley has sent a team to the World Series in South Williamsport, Pennsylvania almost every year for the last decade, including this year again. Langley home-grown boy Matt Lawrie is causing a sensation in Toronto. Thousands of Lower Mainland residents have been travelling 3 hours down to Seattle each night this week to see Lawrie and the Blue Jays, making Safeco Field feel more like a home game for the Jays than for the Mariners. (Watch tonight's game to see what I mean.) A Vancouver MLB team featuring a young Canadian star from the Lower Mainland could be a very potent and popular enterprise.
There's an important distinction between the novelty of a 3-game series in which (say 5,000) fans make the trip across the border for the Blue Jays versus an 81-game home schedule in which attendance needs to average over 20,000 per game at a minimum to make it viable. In fact, most people I know that wind up going to Mariners games will do so once every couple years as a novelty, but aren't die-hard baseball fans.
Do you really think that a small-market city like Vancouver with a variety of outdoor summer activities and a large Asian population that doesn't care about baseball can generate the same level of attendance as Seattle? or even Toronto?
It's a much different game than football or basketball, since it is played in the summer and has a much longer schedule. MLB is much better suited to American cities where there is nothing better to do. It's just difficult to sustain interest for 81 home dates.
I could go on an on about economic feasibility, Vancouver's weather etc etc, but I honestly would put money that we would get an NBA franchise, or even NFL, before MLB.