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JeffD

Expansion Heading West? Possible Oregon Destination Could be on the Trail to Success

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Expansion Heading West? Possible Oregon Destination Could be on the Trail to Success

 

Portland, Oregon – It may have been the worst kept secret in the Victory Hockey League but the league’s Board of Directors has made it official and announced that there will be two expansion teams coming starting in season 68. The biggest question that remains is where will these franchises land?

 

Rumours continue to fly around the league with many different possible destinations being thought of. There are some clear front runners and names that seems to continually pop up in the media including London, Washington and Prague. Each of these options represent largely untapped markets that are clamoring for sports franchises. London and Prague especially have been mentioned in past expansion discussions and are current betting favourites in Las Vegas to receive the European franchise. It seems that expansion on the North American side is a bit more wide open with cities such as Chicago, Los Angeles, Dallas and Washington all making bids. One city, although it is a smaller market, that has also put in a bid for the franchise is Portland, Oregon.

 

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 Portland's Night Skyline

 

Looking at Portland in comparison to the other options it may seem like a poor choice. While cities like Chicago, Los Angeles and Dallas are all viewed as major hubs within the United States and are ranked as the 2nd, 3rd and 4th largest metro populations in the country, Portland falls all the way down at 25th on that list. So why would the league put a team there? The easy answer? Rivalries are good for the league.

 

While the Victory Hockey League is a large enough league and continues to grow it definitely isn’t the biggest sports league in the country. While some people may believe that spreading teams out will grow the population of the fan bases, and that may be true to some extent, breeding strong rivalries is a surefire way to grow a more intense set of fans. There is no doubt that the league will continue to expand in the future and at that point it may be smart to hit the big markets but right now it could be a smart move to try and grow extremely strong pockets of fans. There is already a strong rivalry in the area between the Seattle Bears and the Vancouver Wolves. If a third team, which is historically a rival city to these existing franchises, was to be added it would only move to up the intensity for the Pacific North West. Strong rivalries will get the out of town fans watching regardless of affiliation as it becomes a type of spectacle. A Major League Soccer game between the Portland Timbers and the Seattle Sounders is right among the best sport spectacles you can see in North America. The VHL could market their new rivalry in much the same way. This would get eyes on the sport from all over the country.

 

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Portland fans are among the most passionate in North America

 

While many analysts will continue to say the league should make a move to one of the large markets that may be a short sighted move by the league. If a team goes to a market like Los Angeles or Dallas they will be coming in as a secondary team right from the start. Los Angeles has the Lakers and Dodgers. Dallas has the Cowboys. Chicago has the Bears and Cubs. Portland is an open market that the VHL should truly look to capitalize on. There is always the ability to expand to these larger markets once the VHL has further cemented itself as a staple in North American sports but there could be limited time before a market like Oregon picks up a franchise in a larger league and the VHL loses the ability to capitalize on being the first ones there.

 

While an unlikely destination Oregon could be the best option that the league currently has.

 

I would also like to congratulate @Enorama and @diamond_ace on their appointments as general managers of the new expansion franchises. Good luck!

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9 minutes ago, berocka said:

How long have you been sitting on this article?

Haha I actually just wrote it today. Pretty happy with how it came out.

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