Oct 3, 2023 - Sports

The quiet effort to bring MLB to Raleigh

Illustration of baseballs in the shape of a question mark

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Major League Baseball could be coming to North Carolina.

Driving the news: A group of consultants and state officials have been working behind the scenes for about six months on a pitch to bring an MLB team to the Raleigh market, a source with knowledge of the work tells Axios.

Flashback: Carolina Hurricanes owner Tom Dundon also told the North Carolina Sports Network that he'll lead a group with hopes of bringing an MLB team to the state, the outlet reported Monday night.

  • "I know I'm biased, but I think Raleigh is the best place in the country for a new MLB team," Dundon said. "And when I say that, I think we have the facts to back that up."

Why it matters: Dundon was the first major figure to confirm an effort is underway to bring the MLB to North Carolina — the most populous state in the country without an MLB franchise.

  • "I am not the only one interested in making this happen," Dundon told the sports network.

The big picture: MLB rumors pop up in Charlotte every time there's talk of expansion.

  • But the support of a billionaire and the serious effort behind the scenes in Raleigh make the possibility of an MLB team seem much more tangible.

The intrigue: Gov. Roy Cooper has also expressed interest in bringing an MLB team to the state.

Between the lines: It's been 25 years since the MLB last expanded.

  • The league's commissioner, Rob Manfred, is interested in expanding the league to include two more teams after all 30 existing teams have "stable stadium situations," the Associated Press reported.
  • The Tampa Bay Rays have announced plans for a new ballpark, and The Oakland Athletics are in the midst of a considered move to Las Vegas, according to the AP.

Of note: It would probably be 2028 before any new teams started competing, the AP noted.

  • On the east coast, Nashville and Charlotte have also been floated as possible contenders.
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