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Raleigh city skyline


Metropolitan Area: Raleigh-Cary, North Carolina

Metro Area Population: 1.45 million people
Metro Area Median Age: 37.7 yrs old
Metro Area Median Household Income: $85,303 (USD)
Other 'Big 5' Franchises in city: Carolina Hurricanes (NHL)
Number of Fortune 1000-equivalent businesses in city: 3
Combined annual revenue of Fortune 1000-equivalent businesses in city: $19.5bn (USD)

A wealthy area in the most populous American state without an MLB franchise, for a long time Raleigh's bid to lure an MLB franchise has been spearheaded by the fan-led group MLB Raleigh. Arguing that the city has the size and wealth to support a thriving ballclub, the group has been leading community outreach efforts since 2018, in part designed to create a buzz that catches the attention of a potential ownership group with the dollars to make an expansion team happen.

Recent developments suggest that this plan has been successful. Tom Dundon, owner of the Raleigh-based NHL franchise the Carolina Hurricanes, has said that he is interested in bringing a team to the city. Meanwhile, Axios has reported that consultants and state officials are actively working on the project.

Raleigh has certainly got wealth going for it - it has the highest median household income of the 14 expansion contenders we analysed. The rest of its data is good, if not great. It has the clear weak spots of corporate presence and size of population, as well as middling MiLB attendance, although the NHL's Hurricanes are well attended which suggests that there is at least some appetite for live sport.

When it comes to the data, however, it is worth noting that the way the market's population is measured is contested. MLB Raleigh argue that the size of Raleigh's Metropolitan Statistical Area - the census category usually used when assessing potential baseball markets, including by Baseball Expansion - is misleading because Raleigh has a unique geography. As they put it, "because of the Triangle’s unique layout where 3 key population centers fall within one commuter belt (and are less than 25 miles apart)" you need a different measure to give a "true snapshot of the population radius of the area."[1] 

But even using MLB Raleigh's own measure, the area only rises from the 10th most populous of the 14 expansion contenders to the 8th most populous and would rank as the third smallest MLB city, rather than the smallest. Size is still likely to be an issue in the expansion process.

Overall, as a rich area in a part of the country without baseball, backed by a billionaire owner, Raleigh has a real shot at expansion. Only time will tell how important the city's relatively small population will be to the existing owners.



TV Market Size
Metro Area Size
Median Household Income
Fortune 1000-equivalent Businesses
Median Age
Minor League Attendance


TV Market Size
Metro Area Size
Median Household Income
Fortune 1000-equivalent Businesses
Median Age


[1] "The Data", MLB Raleigh,

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