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Relocation of Professional Sports Teams
Relocation of professional sports teams occurs when a team owner moves a team, generally from one metropolitan area to another, but occasionally between municipalities in the same conurbation. The practice is most common in North America, where a league franchise system is used and the teams are overwhelmingly privately owned. Owners who move a team generally do so seeking better profits, facilities, fan support, or a combination of these.
Unlike most professional sport systems worldwide, North America does not have comprehensive governing bodies whose authority extends from the amateur to the highest levels of a given sport. North American sports generally do not operate a system of promotion and relegation in which poorly performing teams are replaced with teams that do well in lower-level leagues.
A city wishing to get a team in a major professional sports league can wait for the league to expand and award new franchises. However, such expansions are infrequent, and generally limited to a narrow window in time. Many current owners believe 32 is the optimal size for a major league due to playoff structure and ease of scheduling. As of 2018, each of the major leagues has between 30 and 32 franchises. The National Hockey League (NHL) has expanded to 32 teams, with the Vegas Golden Knights having become the league's 31st team in 2017 and the Seattle Kraken due to become the 32nd team in 2021.
In past decades, aspiring owners whose overtures had been rejected by the established leagues would respond by forming a rival league in hopes that the existing major league would eventually agree to a merger; the new league would attain major league status in its own right; or the established league was compelled to expand. The 1960s American Football League (AFL) is perhaps the most recent example of a successful rival league, having achieved each of the three goals listed above in reverse order. However, all major sports have had a rival league achieve at least some of these goals in the last half of the 20th century. Baseball's proposed Continental League did not play a game but only because Major League Baseball responded to the proposal by adding teams in some of the new league's proposed cities. The American Basketball Association (ABA) and World Hockey Association (WHA) each succeeded in getting some of their franchises accepted into the established leagues, which had both unsuccessfully attempted to cause their upstart rivals to fold outright by adding more teams.
However, the upstart leagues owed their success in large part to the reluctance of owners in the established leagues to devote the majority of their revenues to player salaries and also to sports leagues' former reliance primarily on gate receipts for revenue. Under those conditions, an ambitious rival could often afford to lure away the sport's top players with promises of better pay, in hopes of giving the new league immediate respect and credibility from fans. Today, however, established leagues derive a large portion of their revenue from lucrative television contracts that would not be offered to an untested rival. Also, the activism of players' unions has resulted in the established leagues paying a majority of their revenues to players, thus the average salary in each of the big four leagues is now well in excess of $1 million per season.
Under present market and financial conditions, any serious attempt to form a rival league in the early 21st century would likely require hundreds of millions (if not billions) of dollars in investment and initial losses, and even if such resources were made available the upstart league's success would be far from guaranteed, as evidenced by the failure of the WWF/NBC-backed XFL in 2001 and the UFL from 2009 to 2012. The current major leagues have established lucrative relationships with all of the major media outlets in the United States, who subsidize the league's operations because their established fame ensures strong ratings; the networks are far less willing to provide such coverage to an unproven upstart league, often requiring the upstart league to pay the network in order for those leagues to be covered.
Therefore, as long as leagues choose not to expand and/or reject a city's application, the only realistic recourse is to convince the owner(s) of an existing team to move it (or convince a prospective owner to purchase a team with the intent of moving it). Owners usually move teams because of weak fan support or because the team organization is in debt and needs an adequate population for financial support or because another city offers a bigger local market or a more financially lucrative stadium/arena deal. Governments may offer lucrative deals to team owners to attract or retain a team. For example, to attract the NFL's Cleveland Browns in 1995, the state of Maryland agreed to build a new stadium in Baltimore and allow the team to use it rent-free and keep all parking, advertising and concession revenue. (This move proved so unpopular in Cleveland that the move was treated as the Baltimore Ravens being awarded an expansion franchise, and the Browns name and their official lineage would remain in Cleveland for a "reactivated" team that rejoined the NFL three years later.) A little more than a decade earlier, the Baltimore Coltsleft for Indianapolis (NFL owners voted to give Colts owner Robert Irsay permission to move his franchise to the city of his choosing after no satisfactory stadium would be built).
Moving sports teams is often controversial. Opponents criticize owners for leaving behind faithful fans and governments for spending millions of dollars of tax money on attracting teams. However, since sports teams in the United States are generally treated like any other business under antitrust law, there is little sports leagues can do to prevent teams from flocking to the highest bidders (for instance, the Los Angeles Rams filed suit when the other NFL owners initially blocked their move to St. Louis, which caused the NFL to back down and allow the move to proceed). Major League Baseball, unique among the major professional sports leagues, has an exemption from antitrust laws won by a Supreme Court decision but nonetheless has allowed several teams to change cities. Also recently, courts denied the attempted move of the team then known as the Phoenix Coyotes by siding with the NHL, which claimed that it had final authority over franchise moves.
Newer sports leagues tend to have more transient franchises than more established, "major" leagues, but in the mid-1990s, several NFL and NHL teams moved to other cities, and the threat of a move pushed cities with major-league teams in any sport to build new stadiums and arenas using taxpayer money. The trend continued in the 2000s, when three National Basketball Association (NBA) teams moved in a seven-year span after there were no moves at all in the 16 years before it. Critics referred to the movement of teams to the highest-bidding city as "franchise free agency."
United States and Canada
The following charts list movements of franchises in the modern eras of the major North American sports leagues. It does not include:
Moves within a city, which have occurred many times in all major leagues.
Short distance moves from one city in a metro area to another city in the same metro area. (For example, San Francisco to Oakland or vice versa.)
Short-distance city-suburb moves. (For example, Los Angeles to Anaheim, both of which are in the same urban agglomeration.)
Team moves that happened before the organization joined its current league.
Note, however, that the NFL considers the American Football League of the 1960s as an integral part of its own history. Therefore, moves of AFL teams during the existence of that league are included.
Moves of teams that, as of 2020, no longer exist. There were many such moves in the early years of the NFL in particular.
1903: Original Baltimore Orioles moved to New York City and became the Highlanders. The team was renamed the Yankees in 1913. As this situation may be considered a case of the American League dissolving the Baltimore franchise and issuing a new franchise in New York, Yankees history information usually begins in 1903.
1953: Boston Braves moved to Milwaukee. This was the first move in 50 years. During those 50 years, there had also been no expansions or contractions - Major League Baseball had consisted of the same 16 teams, 8 in each league, playing in the same 10 cities without interruption for half a century.
1958: Brooklyn Dodgers moved to Los Angeles and the New York Giants moved to San Francisco. These were the first major league teams to be based in the U.S. West Coast; the teams moved simultaneously to facilitate travel for other National League (NL) teams. The NL granted New York City a new expansion franchise, the New York Mets, in 1962.
At the same time that the name change to Hornets was announced, it was also revealed that the Hornets, the league, and the franchise now known as the New Orleans Pelicans had reached an agreement that the history of the original Charlotte Hornets would belong exclusively to the current Hornets. As a result, the NBA now considers the Charlotte Hornets to have begun play in the 1988-89 season, suspended operations following the 2001-02 season, returned as the Bobcats beginning with the 2004-05 season, and renamed the Hornets beginning with the 2014-15 season, while the New Orleans Pelicans kept their history as the Hornets from moving in 2002.
The history of the NFL fully incorporates that of the fourth American Football League, which began operation in 1960 with eight teams and became by far the most successful rival to the NFL. In 1966, the two leagues agreed to a merger that took full effect in 1970. All teams from the 1960-1969 AFL were brought intact to the NFL, and the current NFL recognizes all AFL records and statistics as its own.
1982: Oakland Raiders moved to Los Angeles. Although the NFL refused permission for the move, the team won the right to move (as well as the right to remain as a franchise in its conference and in the league) through a court case.
1996: Cleveland Browns players and coaching staff moved to Baltimore and became the Ravens. The move was one of the most controversial in major professional sports history. In response to a fan revolt and legal threats, the NFL awarded a new franchise to Cleveland in 1999, which for historical purposes is considered a continuation of the original Browns franchise.
2017: San Diego Chargers returned to their original home of Los Angeles after 56 seasons in San Diego. The team played in the suburb of Carson before joining the Rams at their new stadium in 2020.
2020: Oakland Raiders were approved to move to a new stadium in the Las Vegas area in 2020. The team played in Oakland for the 2018 season and, due to being thwarted in its plans to play in San Francisco by their regional rivals the 49ers, were forced to play in Oakland in 2019 as well before completing the move to Las Vegas in 2020.
1976: California Golden Seals, who played their home games in Oakland, moved to Cleveland and became the Barons. The Cleveland Barons then merged with the Minnesota North Stars two years later; the San Francisco Bay Area was awarded the San Jose Sharks in 1991 when the owners threatened to move the team from Minnesota, they were allowed to split half the team back to San Jose.
2006: The San Jose Earthquakes moved to Houston and became the Houston Dynamo; however, the team records, logo, colors, championships, and history were left in San Jose. An option for an MLS franchise was awarded to Oakland Athletics owner Lew Wolff in 2006, and the option was exercised in 2007. The Earthquakes resumed play in MLS in 2008 as a continuation of the previous Earthquakes franchise under new ownership.
The league also attempted to move the Las Vegas Posse after their single season of 1994. Prior to the 1995 season, multiple ownership groups unsuccessfully tried to buy the team for a move to Jackson, Mississippi. Following that, plans were made to move the team to Miami, Florida as the Manatees, but plans fell through when the league chose to end the US expansion before the Manatees' scheduled launch in 1996.
The CFL's expansion into the US both began and ended with events that were not technically team moves, but were also not truly new teams being formed. The staff of the Ottawa Rough Riders moved from Ottawa to Shreveport, Louisiana, to become the Shreveport Pirates in 1993, but the CFL forced the team itself to be left in Ottawa, where a new owner kept the franchise alive. In 1996, the owners of the Baltimore Stallions folded the team upon the announcement that the Cleveland Browns would be moving to Baltimore (but see Cleveland Browns relocation controversy). Despite high attendance and success on the field, management felt that they would be unable to directly compete with an NFL team in the same city. The Stallions' ownership group took over the then-dormant Montreal Alouettes franchise. While the players were released from their contracts with the Stallions, many were subsequently signed to the Alouettes. The CFL and the Alouettes do not consider the Stallions' records, including the 1995 Grey Cup victory, as part of the team's legacy. The Alouettes are instead considered a continuation of the previous teams of that name.
Australia and New Zealand
The two major professional sporting leagues in Australia are the Australian Football League (AFL) and National Rugby League (NRL). Both competitions were originally based in one city (Melbourne and Sydney respectively) and expanded to a national level, and through that process, there have been team moves, mergers and closures in both leagues. The clubs are owned by members, not privately, but the North American franchise model exists, which means entry to the league is restricted. The hybrid model has meant that the leading promoter of moving is the league itself, trying to grow the football code by encouraging poorly performing clubs to move interstate.
South Melbourne Football Club: In 1982, it moved interstate to Sydney, 963 km north and became the Sydney Swans. Despite early struggles, the club has more than tripled its membership since, and has won premierships (championships) in 2005 and 2012.
Fitzroy Football Club: In 1996, the Melbourne-based club merged its playing operations with the interstate Brisbane Bears, a club 1669 km north of its original home, with the Bears becoming the Brisbane Lions. Since the merger, the Brisbane club almost doubled its membership and won three consecutive premierships between 2001 and 2003. The Fitzroy Football Club ceased fielding a team in professional competitions, but it continues as a standalone entity based at its traditional home, and has fielded a team in the amateur Victorian Amateur Football Association (VAFA) since 2009.
Suburban based club joins the National competition
The Port Adelaide Football Club, established in 1870, participated in the SANFL competition until 1997 when the club joined the AFL. In 1997 the Port Adelaide Magpies Football Club was formed to maintain the clubs presence in the SANFL at the request of the SANFL winning premierships in 1998 and 1999. The Port Adelaide Football Club won the 2004 AFL Premiership and maintains strong links to its community in the Port Adelaide area. It is the only suburban club to join the national AFL competition with all other additions to the expanded VFL being composite sides or newly established clubs like the Sydney Swans, the Brisbane Bears ( see above ), West Coast, Adelaide, Fremantle, Gold Coast and Greater Western Sydney.
St Kilda Football Club: In 1964, the team moved from the Junction Oval in St Kilda to the Moorabbin Oval in the South Eastern Melbourne suburb of Moorabbin. Two years, later they won their first and only premiership. From 1993 to 1999, they played their home games to Waverley Park in Mulgrave in Melbourne's east. St Kilda were one of the first tenants of the new Colonial Stadium in 2000, but their administration remained at Moorabbin. In late 2007, it was confirmed that the club would leave Moorabbin to set up base in Seaford, Victoria, a region (the Mornington Peninsula) where the club added many supporters. The move was completed at the start of the 2011 season. The Saints moved their training and administration back to Moorabbin Oval in 2018.
Hawthorn Football Club - in 1973, it moved from suburban Hawthorn to Princes Park in Carlton, an inner Northern suburb of Melbourne, and then to Waverley Park in 1991. In 2000, the club moved its home games to the Melbourne Cricket Ground. In 2005, some years after Waverley Park's demise as an official VFL/AFL venue, the club permanently moved to Waverley, but the name of the club did not change. The Hawks bought a plot of land in the locality of Dingley and plan to move their base to there in 2020/21.
Carlton Football Club - at the end of the 2005 season moved from Optus Oval in Carlton, to the larger and more central Telstra Dome, although retained its administration headquarters at Princes Park. The club was the last suburban based Melbourne club to leave its former home ground.
Secondary interstate 'homes'
Some Melbourne-based clubs began selling home games interstate in the late 1990s and conducting community camp clinics to build up local supporter bases.
Western Bulldogs - Darwin, Northern Territory since 2000 (approximately 1-2 games a year). In 2007, the Bulldogs reduced their commitment to 1 game and signed a deal to also play 1 game a year in Canberra. They suspended their operations in Canberra in 2010, and stopped playing games in Darwin in 2013. They played 1 match a year in Cairns against the Gold Coast Suns from 2014 to 2018, and now play 1 game per year in Ballarat
North Melbourne Football Club - in 1999, backed by the AFL, the club changed their trading name to the Kangaroos, and played a handful of home games interstate in Sydney. The move proved unsuccessful, and the club has since played in Canberra for several years (2002-2006) before abandoning the area for the more lucrative, and potential goldmine at the Gold Coast, Queensland (2007-2008). However, the club pulled out from moving 'home' games altogether after declining a league offer of a full move to the Gold Coast. The club then started playing 2 games a year in Hobart in 2013 and now play 4 games per year at Hobart's Blundstone Arena as of 2017
The Demons abandoned operations in Canberra and the Gold Coast in 2011 after the addition of the Gold Coast Suns as a new AFL franchise, in 2014 the club started playing 1 game a year in Darwin and 1 game a year in Alice Springs
New Zealand Knights FC, who played in Auckland, New Zealand, were dissolved and moved to Wellington in 2004, becoming Wellington Phoenix FC. During the later stages of the 2006-07 A-League season, Football Federation Australia (FFA) removed New Zealand Knights A-League licence due to the club's financial and administrative problems and poor on-field performance. After much delay, the final amount needed for the application came from Wellington property businessman Terry Serepisos in the latter stages of the bid. Serepisos, the club's majority owner and chairman, provided NZD $1,000,000 to ensure the beginnings of a new New Zealand franchise and a continuation of New Zealand's participation in the A-League. FFA finalised a three-year A-League licence to New Zealand Football who then sub-let the licence to the Wellington-based club. The new Wellington club was confirmed on 19 March 2007.
The name for the new club was picked from a shortlist of six, pruned from 250 names suggested by the public, and was announced on 28 March 2007. Serepisos said of the name, that "It symbolises the fresh start, the rising from the ashes, and the incredible Wellington support that has come out".
The NRL is the national competition in rugby league and was born out of the Sydney-based Australian Rugby League and New South Wales Rugby League competitions. In 1987, the Western Suburbs Magpies agreed to move from its (inner) Western suburbs base to the outer south-western Macarthur district following a prior move west to Lidcombe Oval. In 1999, they merged with the remaining Inner Western team, the Balmain Tigers, (both teams having been established in 1908) to become Wests Tigers.
The North Sydney Bears attempted to move from their Northern Suburbs base to the swiftly growing Central Coast region just north of Sydney in 1999, however problems with construction at the proposed home ground now known as Bluetongue Central Coast Stadium meant that the Bears continued to play home matches in a variety of Sydney grounds before being forced into a merger with the Manly Sea Eagles as the Northern Eagles. The merged clubs played home matches at both the Central Coast and Manly's home ground of Brookvale Oval, but after the bears were expelled from the partnership, poor crowds at the former location led to a reversion to the name of Manly and games played exclusively at Brookvale Oval. Subsequently, one of the owners of Bluetongue Central Coast Stadium, John Singleton, has attempted to lure another club to play there, notably the South Sydney Rabbitohs who have experienced poor crowds at their new home ground of ANZ Stadium.
The Canterbury Bulldogs were formed in 1935 and played their first season without a home ground. In 1936, they settled at Belmore Oval (renamed the Belmore Sports Ground) and played home matches there until the end of the 1998 season. The Bulldogs trialled a number of alternative home grounds during the 1990s, including Concord Oval in 1994. In 1995, they changed their name to the Sydney Bulldogs and played most of the Premiership winning season at Parramatta Stadium, sharing the ground with bitter rivals, the Parramatta Eels and the also moved-and-renamed Sydney (Balmain) Tigers. They finally settled on Stadium Australia, the main stadium for the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games as their home ground, and in 2008, moved their training and administration facilities from Belmore to the Homebush Olympic Park Site, though have since re-embraced the Belmore region by returning to the name of the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs and playing some of their home games at the new Belmore Sports Ground.
Other clubs have moved to new home grounds but have retained their original base.
FC Banants were founded in 1992 in the village of Kotayk, representing the Kotayk Province. Between 1992 and 1995, the club was commonly referred to as Banants Kotayk. During the 1992 season, the club won the first Armenian Cup. At the end of the 1995 transitional season, Banants suffered a financial crisis. The club owners decided that it was better to merge the club with FC Kotayk of Abovyan, rather than disband it. In 2001, Banants demerged from FC Kotayk, and was moved from Abovyan to the capital Yerevan.
FC Alashkert was founded in 1990 in the town of Martuni of Gegharkunik Province. In 1992, the team played in the Premier League representing Martuni and using the City Stadium of the town as their home venue. In 1999, they did not participate in the First League competition and later in early 2000, the club was dissolved. In February 2013, the club purchased the Nairi Stadium in Yerevan, to become the official venue of their home games. As a result, the club was officially moved from Martuni to Yerevan starting from the 2013-14 season.
Football Couillet La Louvière was formed in June 2009 as the result of a merger between R.A.C.S. Couillet and R.A.A. Louviéroise. The matricule of the club is the number 94 of RACS Couillet, so technically it is a continuation of Couillet, whereas La Louvière has dissolved into Couillet, with their matricule (number 93) being lost. At the time of the merger, La Louvière played in the third tier of Belgian football and Couillet in the fourth, as a result, the new team started in the fourth tier. After the merger, the team was based in La Louvière and renamed to Football Club Couillet-La Louvière with abbreviation FCLL. However, the team moved back to Couillet in Charleroi in 2011 after third division team URS Centre moved to the center of La Louvière and changed its name to UR La Louvière Centre. As a result, the team name was changed again to Football Club Charleroi.
RFC Liège, after its home stadium the Stade Vélodrome de Rocourt in Liège was destroyed, the club became 'homeless'. After having played during 4 years at rue Gilles Magnée, in Ans where a temporary stand was built, the RFC Liège is currently playing in Seraing at the Pairay Stadium.
Dukla Prague, a successful football team under the patronage of the Czech Armed Forces, originally from Prague, merged with second division side FC Portál P?íbram in 1996. The new club, which later became known as 1. FK P?íbram, played one season in Prague at the Juliska Stadium before moving to P?íbram in 1997, the last home match at Juliska being a 2-2 draw with relegated Baník Haví?ov on 1 June 1997, effectively meaning that the original FC P?íbram, founded in 1929, moved to Prague, merged and then moved back. The club currently playing under the Dukla Prague name, and the current spiritual successor of the original team, FK Dukla Prague, was founded in 1958 as FK Dukla Dejvice and advanced to the Prague Championship in the 1983-84 season. Prior to 2001, the club's best finish in a season had been second in the Prague Championship in the 1984-85 season. In 2001, the club became known as FK Dukla Prague, but not the legal successor of the original Dukla Prague team. In November 2006, the new FK Dukla Prague management announced that it had agreed to a takeover of second league rights of the Jakub?ovice team and in 2007 Dukla took Jakub?ovice's place in the Czech 2. Liga, having finished the 2006-07 season in second place.
In ice hockey, the Kontinental Hockey League, based in Russia but also including teams from several other post-Soviet states, expanded outside the former Soviet Union for the first time in 2011, adding the Slovakian team Lev Poprad. The team was purchased by Czech interests after the 2011-12 season; the new owners folded the club and replaced it with a similarly named team, the Prague-based Lev Praha. Although the two Lev teams are technically separate corporate entities, this situation can effectively be viewed as a move; not only are the team names similar, but the new owners retained much of the Poprad roster.
In 1967, the top-tier but deep in-debt Toulouse FC, located in Toulouse, merged with Paris suburbs Red Star, then a tier-2 club, actually moving the entire club, including players and staff, 700 kilometres (430 mi) North. This created a major scandal, leading to legislation changes, in particular the 1984 Avice law, which prevents out-of-departement fusions or moves for all sports
Evian Thonon Gaillard F.C. were rumoured to be pursuing a move to play its home matches at the Stade de la Praille in Geneva, Switzerland after it was determined that the club's current facility, the Stade Joseph-Moynat, did not meet the Ligue de Football Professionnel's (LFP) standards. Thonon-les-Bains, the commune where the club situates itself, is a few kilometres from the Swiss border and is only 34.6 kilometres (21.5 mi), a 45-minute car drive, from the city of Geneva. It was reported that the club's president, Patrick Trotignon, had been in the process of advocating for the move since the beginning of the 2009-10 Championnat National season just in case the club had achieved promotion to the second division. The vice-president of Swiss club Servette FC, who occupy the stadium, questioned the move citing possible schedule conflicts, as well as the health of the pitch if both clubs were to use the stadium on a weekly basis. However, his claims were refuted by Benoît Genecand, who serves as president of Fondation du Stade de Genève (FSG), which owns and operates the facility. The club responded immediately to Genecand's comments via a press release posted on the club's official website. Evian petitioned to the State Council of Geneva and obtained approval from the LFP for the move in early May. On 20 May 2010, Evian received a favourable ruling from the French Football Federation (FFF) with the Federal Council voting in favour of the move. According to the federation, the move now had to be agreed upon by a UEFA executive committee, which is composed of seventeen officials. On 8 June, UEFA officially denied Evian's request to play at the Stade de la Praille meaning the club would play its home matches at the Parc des Sports in nearby Annecy.
Due to the Abkhaz-Georgian conflict several clubs from the region cannot compete in the Georgian league and therefore several clubs have been re-founded by internally displaced persons from Abkhazia in Tbilisi, and although the original clubs continue to exist in exile, and no actual move has occurred, the Abkhaz peoples who had founded these club consider the clubs to be the continuation of the original club:
FC Gagra was founded in 2004 as a continuation of the city of Gagra's disrupted by war football traditions, although a dormant amateur side in Gagra by the same name remains in the local Abkhaz league. Initially there have been efforts to move the Abkhaz team to Tskhaltubo, ground-sharing with Samgurali Tskhaltubo due to the number of internally displaced persons in the town but these plans failed due to lack of finances and facilities.
While football club moves have so far been unusual in West German football, it was a rather common practice in communist East Germany. As teams were dependent on the regime, it intervened several times to promote an equal distribution of teams across the country. A number of prominent East German teams were affected by these political moves, and even in modern-day Germany, the reason for the regional dominance of some teams and the roots of many strong rivalries can be found there.
In 1954, the entire team of Empor Lauter, a club from a small industrial town in southern Saxony, moved to the very north of the country to compete as Empor Rostock. Under the name Hansa Rostock, they have been the most successful East German team since 1990.
Also in 1954, Dynamo Dresden lost all its players to the newly formed side of Dynamo Berlin. Dresden passed almost a decade in the lower leagues, returned to top-level football in 1962 and became one of the fiercest rivals of by-then record champion Dynamo Berlin.
Vorwärts Frankfurt (Oder) was the only major team to move twice. Founded as Vorwärts Leipzig in 1951, the team was moved to East Berlin in 1953, where they won six East German championships. They became Vorwärts Frankfurt in 1971 and were renamed to FFC Viktoria in 1991.
Until the mid-2000s, moving and renaming smaller teams was a common method for larger teams in Hungary to evade their financial crisis or to level up in the league system without winning promotion on-pitch, a method that became so popular and controversial it had to be prohibited.
Diósgy?ri VTK from Miskolc, then named Diósgy?r FC went into bankruptcy after the 1999-2000 NB1 season. After immediately forming a fan-owned club in the seventh tier of the Hungarian league system, during the winter the club took over fellow Miskolc team Borsod Volán SE to gain promotion to the third division. After years of third and second league football, the team gained promotion in 2004 on-pitch, but failed to obtain license for the 2004-05 NB1 season. Therefore the club took over Balaton FC, a team from Siófok with financial problems, and took up the name Diósgy?ri Balaton FC. After having two teams with two different coaches during the summer pre-season - one that gained promotion and one that got moved to Miskolc with the proper licensing -, and even being excluded from the league for a brief period, the team regained its original name DVTK and cemented itself in the highest tier of Hungarian football once more.
BFC Siófok, which had its predecessor Balaton FC moved to Miskolc in 2004, bought the team of Bodajk playing in the second tier next year, and renamed itself to Bodajk FC Siófok.
Vasas SC from Angyalföld, 13th district, Budapest: the six-time championship winner team, which already faced financial difficulties over the millennium, was relegated in the 2001-02 season after finishing third in the season before. In the second league, matters became worse, and the new owner János Jámbor moved fellow second division team Kecskeméti TE to the capital and transforming it to the club's football team instead of saving the original.
Lombard Pápa: Péter Bíró, owner of jewelry trader firm Lombard, was a long-time football investor, having been the owner of Tatabánya FC and Szombathelyi Haladás, both carrying the Lombard name during his reign respectively. In 2004, he decided to move his team to Pápa, which meant that the team, never been playing in the first league before, took hold of the first league license of Szombathely.
Szombathelyi Haladás, in the same vein as its first league license got transferred to Pápa, had bought Dabas and took hold its second league license just days after its demise.
Current Italian football laws allow clubs to move only between bordering cities. Some examples include:
In 2003, after Cosenza Calcio 1914 was not admitted to Serie B, a new ownership bought sports rights from then-Serie D club Castrovillari in order to permit a Cosenza franchise to play football in the upcoming season. The new club however proved to be short-lived, as it declared bankruptcy in 2007, but was promptly replaced by Fortitudo Cosenza, born as a move of neighbouring Serie D club Rende Calcio.
In 1994, one year after the cancellation of Calcio Catania, Atletico Leonzio's chairman Franco Proto moved his club, renaming it Atletico Catania. The club, previously located in Lentini, went on to play up to Serie C1 (the league now known as Lega Pro Prima Divisione), losing promotion to Serie B on playoffs twice before being cancelled in 2001 because of financial difficulties also related to Calcio Catania's return into professional football and the consequent drop in attendance.
A.C.D. Città di Vittoria, born in 2007 as merger of Serie D's Comiso with minor league club Junior Vittoria (possibly a trick in order to allow the club to legally move from Comiso to Vittoria).
A.S.D. Pol. Libertas Acate of Serie D are a club officially settled in Acate, which however actually plays their home matches in Modica and are recognized by both fans and the regional press as Modica's club, being frequently referred to as Libertas Acate-Modica. In fact, after a takeover bid in 2006 the club left Acate to play their home matches in Modica despite the fact they were not eligible to change the "legal" home city.
Lupa Frascati in the season 2013-14 the club moved to Axa district of Rome changing its name to A.S.D. Lupa Roma, and playing the home matches in nearby Stadio Pietro Desideri of Fiumicino. In the next season it was promoted to Lega Pro as Group G champions, changing its name again to Lupa Roma F.C. as a sign of return to the professional ranks after a 34-season absence. The team had to also move its home in Aprilia due to the Fiumicino field being unfit for professional league games, and the immediate lack of an available venue in Rome. In 2016-17 season the club moved to Stadio Olindo Galli of Tivoli. The legal address of the club also moved to the same municipality of Greater Rome.
Before the 2010-11 season, Triboldi were legally domiciled in Soresina, but played their home games in nearby Cremona, a community in the same Province. The club has now changed its domicile to Cremona.
Irish clubs moving out of their original district are slightly more common. In certain cases, the club has moved within a conurbation.
Shamrock Rovers Played in Glenmalure Park on the Southside of Dublin from 1926 to 1987. The club's owner Louis Kilcoyne announced he was selling Glenmalure Park, which they had recently purchased from the Jesuits. The team played the entire 1987-88 season in an almost empty Tolka Park on Dublin's Northside as a result of a boycott called for by the Shamrock Rovers Supporters Club and KRAM (Keep Rovers At Milltown), which was observed by the vast majority of Hoops fans. Following the completion of the boycott season in Tolka, the Kilcoynes sold the football club to Dublin businessman, John McNamara, who put forward a controversial proposal to move in with Rivals Bohemians at Dalymount Park. KRAM congregated to vote on whether to lift the boycott and on the proposal to move to Dalymount. Both motions were passed and the club spent the next two seasons at the Phibsboro venue, with an unrecognisable side playing in front of small attendances. Rovers spent two season's in Dalymount Park before moving to the RDS Arena in Ballsbridge, just two miles away from Glenmalure Park. In 1996, the club's new owner Alan McGrath unveiled a plan to build a permanent home state-of-the-art stadium in the Dublin southwest suburb of Tallaght for Rovers, The club also played home matches in Morton Stadium, Richmond Park and again in Tolka Park before moving to their new home in Tallaght in 2009.
RAF Jelgava in the early 1990s RAF was one of the strongest teams in Virsl?ga. However, when the plant ran into financial difficulties, the team received new sponsorship from the University of Latvia in 1996 and, as a result, changed their name and moved to Riga, and played in the Latvian University Stadium. The move was a sporting disaster and the club folded. A team under the name RAF Jelgava appeared again in 2001 in the 1. l?ga, and after the 2003 season the club merged with another Jelgava club, FK Viola Jelgava forming FK Jelgava.
Team moves are slightly more common in other sports in the Netherlands. Volleyball club AMVJ, for instance, moved from Amsterdam to Amstelveen in 1980. The men's team was subsequently moved to Almere in 1999, becoming VC Omniworld, the volleyball branch of the aforementioned FC Omniworld.
Olimpia Pozna? was moved from Pozna? and merged with Lechia Gda?sk in 1995 creating Olimpia-Lechia Gda?sk. It only lasted one season in the top division and by 1997 it was already in the third division. The club tried to rescue its fall through another merger with local club Polonia Gda?sk, in turn dropping Olimpia's heritage and changing its name to Lechia-Polonia Gda?sk, with Antoni Ptak's company as the main sponsor. In 2001 Lechia decided to leave the merger, and started as an independent club from the bottom of the football pyramid as the sole legal and spiritual continuator of BKS Lechia, which folded the merged club in 2002, forcing Polonia to start in a lower league as well.
Pogo? Szczecin in 2002 was on the brink of bankruptcy. As a result, fans created a new team on the basis of the reserves in the fourth division. However owner of Piotrcovia Piotrków Trybunalski Antoni Ptak decided to move the team and renamed the club MKS Pogo? Szczecin. The initial distrust was lost when the team performed well and used local players, however halfway through the 2005/2006 season the team started underperforming and Ptak decided to replace almost the entire squad with only Brazilian nationals, making it the "most Brazilian team outside Brazil". Antoni Ptak also built a small training facility in Gutów Ma?y, meaning the home games were played almost 500 kilometres (310 mi) away from Szczecin. The experiment failed and in 2007 Antoni Ptak moved away from football, leaving the club to be rebuilt on the basis of the 4th division counterpart set up originally by the fans, which acted as the reserve team in the meantime.
Sokó? Pniewy was moved to Tychy and merged with the local club GKS Tychy, which resulted in unorthodox renaming, first to Sokó? Pniewy in Tychy, then from 9 January 1996 Sokó? Tychy. After 26 games in its 2nd season the new fused club folded, leaving the reserve team Sokó? Pniewy in the fourth division to become its senior team, whereas GKS Tychy started anew.
WKS Zawisza Bydgoszcz was founded in Koszalin, however a year later in 1947, being an army club, when the army offices moved to Bydgoszcz so did the team, however up until that point the team only played friendly matches.
Zawisza Bydgoszcz SA was a club that was created when Kujawiak W?oc?awek were moved to Bydgoszcz and renamed by Hydrobudowa, their owners. The original WKS Zawisza Bydgoszcz continued playing in the fourth division, however the new club had a very similar logo and an identical name, resulting in an unusual situation of having two almost identical clubs playing in 2 different divisions; for the purposes disambiguation, the new merged Zawisza was called Zawisza Bydgoszcz (2) by official sources and Kujawiak/Zawisza or Hydrobudowa Bydgoszcz by many others. As a result of the merger, Kujawiak, Zawisza and supporters all over the country boycotted the moved team. The reserve team continued to play under the name Kujawiak W?oc?awek in the Fourth Polish league. The club folded in 2007 as a result of serious corruption allegations and widespread condemnation.
CS Buftea was founded in 2005 after a merger between a local team from Buftea, which was playing in the fourth division and Cimentul Fieni, being located only 20 km north-west of Bucharest, in the town of Buftea, Ilfov County. The club had originally a red, white and blue combination of colours and played its home matches on Orenesc Stadium. In 2013-2016, the club moved three times. First time in 2013, the club was bought by the local authorities from Clinceni, 30 km away from Buftea, renamed as FC Clinceni and re-branded, then one year later, businessman Constantin Moroianu bought the club, moved it to Pite?ti, renamed it as Academica Arge?, changing its colours and logo. After another year the club was moved again to Clinceni, renamed as Academica Clinceni, changed its colours back in black and blue and also the logo. After financial problems, the club started in 2017 a collaboration with FCSB, having some young players on loan from the multiple champions of Romania.
Damila M?ciuca was founded in 2010. In the summer of 2013 after the over average performance of the team and also the ranking that was with 3 places and 10 points over CSM Râmnicu Vâlcea, county's first team, appeared the idea that Damila should be the new team of the city of Râmnicu Vâlcea. After several rounds of negotiations Daniel Ni?u (Damila's owner) and C?t?lin Ruf? (CSM's owner) changed the camps, so Ruf? became the new owner of the white and greens and also the squads were changed between them. After the transaction Ruf? has received the financial support of the Re?i?a Municipality, with the condition that the club must change its name, headquarters, colors and stadium. So in the summer of 2013 Damila M?ciuca was renamed as CSM Metalul Re?i?a, moved from M?ciuca to Re?i?a, their colors were changed from white and green in red and black, the traditional colours of Re?i?a and the Damila Stadium has been replaced by Mircea Chivu Stadium. Though sustained at first by Guardia Rosso-Nera, CSM ?colar Re?i?a supporters, club that was at that time in a hard financial situation, the relationship between the owner and the supporters chilled subsequently and they went back to supporting their original club, CSM. Also in the summer of 2015 the relations between Re?i?a Municipality and C?t?lin Ruf? have become increasingly distant. In the summer of 2016 Snagov Commune was interested in supporting the team, of course there was a new move in the business, this time from Re?i?a to Snagov. With the financial support of Snagov Commune the club changed its name again in the summer of 2017, this time from CSM Metalul Re?i?a to CS Sportul Snagov and their colours were changed from red and black in red and blue. In February 2018 it was announced that Sportul will play in the second part of the championship on Dumitru M?t?r?u Stadium from ?tef?ne?tii de Jos due to the changing of the surface from Voin?a Stadium, a pitch with major problems in the past, in terms of quality.
Foresta F?lticeni was founded in 1954 in F?lticeni under the name of Avântul F?lticeni. In 1997, the club was moved to Suceava after it won the promotion to the Divizia A for the first time in history. The main reason for the move was the inadequate state of Foresta's stadium in F?lticeni, which was both small and had a cracked stand. Another reason for the move was, that the main team in the city, CSM Suceava had failed to achieve any notable performances during the previous decade. Before it was dissolved in 2003 it moved back to F?lticeni to play the last matches in its history there.
Unirea T?rlungeni in the summer of 2016 was moved from T?rlungeni to ?tef?ne?tii de Jos. After the move, the team faced financial problems due to non-involvement of ?tef?ne?tii de Jos Municipality, one of its new owners. During the winter break all the players terminated their contracts and left the team. Despite the efforts to maintain the club, Unirea T?rlungeni withdrew from Liga II in February 2017.
In 2011, the Kontinental Hockey League, based in Russia but also including teams from several other post-Soviet states, expanded outside the former Soviet Union for the first time, adding the Slovakian team Lev Poprad. The team was purchased by Czech interests after the 2011-12 season; the new owners folded the club and replaced it with a similarly named team, the Prague-based Lev Praha. Although the two Lev teams are technically separate corporate entities, this situation can be viewed as an effective move; not only are the team names similar, but the new owners retained much of the Poprad roster.
Ciudad de Murcia, a Segunda División side, at the end of the 2006-2007 season, was acquired by an investor from Granada, transferring it to that city and renaming it to Granada 74 CF. The players still under contract with Ciudad had the option to cancel their contract or stay on with the newly formed club.
Although no major moves have occurred, two clubs from the capital Stockholm have changed municipality (AIK) and acquired another team into their club colours (Hammarby Ishockey) respectively. AIK was formed in Stockholm in 1891 but then moved to neighbouring Solna in 1937. Hammarby IF had an ice hockey section that was shut down in 2008. In 2013, the club Bajen Fans Hockey then changed their name to Hammarby Ishockey, thereby becoming one of very few clubs in Sweden that have acquired another club and made it their own. Also see AFC Eskilstuna.
In Switzerland only one move has happened so far. The Zürich-based football club Grasshoppers Zürich under company name "Die Neue Grasshopper Fussball AG" controversially moved their headquarters in 2005 from the city itself to Niederhasli. The addition of Zurich was remained in the club's name and the team is still playing in the city of Zurich at Letzigrund (the home stadium of their old rival FC Zürich, a temporary measure while Stadion Zürich is being built). All other teams of the club are playing Niederhasli.
The fans of Grasshoppers Club protested the move, claiming the club has lost part of its identity.
Süleymaniye Sirkeci was founded in 1911 and had black-white colors. The club played in the old Third Division (now TFF Second League) before moving to Küçükçekmece at the end of the 1989-90 season. It was renamed as Küçükçekmecespor and changed its colors to green-white.
Lokomotyv Donetsk was created sometime around 1957 and initially represented city of Artemivsk. After being promoted to the Soviet Class B in 1958, the club moved to Stalino (now Donetsk) in mid-season. The club existed until 1973 when it relegated from the Soviet Second League and was dissolved.
Due to the War in Donbass, several clubs have temporarily moved for an indefinite period of time due to safety concerns. Shakhtar Sverdlovsk and Avanhard Kramatorsk could not find alternative venues and withdrew from all competitions as a result. Those teams that moved continue to participate in all competitions:
Team moves in Latin America occur very rarely for the established teams with established bases. Smaller teams, either small team from large agglomerations or provincial teams with little or no fan base frequently move in search of a larger market and/or more affordable facilities, as frequently, there are only large complexes available with a necessity to groundshare with a larger club. The practice is considered anathema.
C.D. Green Cross, founded on 27 June 1916, were a sports club that were based in the city of Santiago until 1965, when they moved to Temuco, where then they merged with the local football team Deportes Temuco. Since when they were known as Green Cross Temuco until 1985 when the club changed its name to its current one.
Bajo Cauca F.C. moved to Itagüí in 2008. As a result, the local Itagüí F.C. was refounded. The team was expelled from Itagüí in May 2014, following a dispute between the club's chairman and the city's mayor regarding the financial support received by the club from Itagüí's government. The decision to expel the club from the city was made by the mayor after being publicly criticized by the club's chairman for the scarce support provided to the club. This incident meant the team would change its name to Águilas Pereira, moving to the city of Pereira and playing its home matches at Hernán Ramírez Villegas stadium, change approved by DIMAYOR's Assembly in an extraordinary meeting on July 14, 2014. In March 2015, the club moved to Rionegro, changing its name to Águilas Doradas and then Rionegro Águilas.
Real Maya were founded on 7 April 1985. They played in first division for many season under many different names, Real Maya being the most used. In the 2002/2003 season they took the place of Real Comayagua. They were named Real Patepluma and moved to Santa Bárbara for their final two seasons in the top tier of Honduran football before being excluded from the league.
Liga MX has a relegation system but its teams have some territorial rights recognized, perhaps due to U.S. influence as many league matches are aired in the U.S., where only traditional top-flight teams are perceived to most effectively reach the immigrant fan-base.
In Peru several teams have had to use already built large stadiums, including ones in the interior of the country, to be able to participate in Peruvian Primera División; this includes several teams from the capital, Lima, who have not been able to establish fanbases in their districts due to the required moves.
Team moves in Asia are done according to the type of sport played and/or the predominant style of league organization, as well as individual economic circumstances. For instance, in Japan there is a difference between Nippon Professional Baseball which is run like MLB, and the J.League which is run like European football leagues.
Club moves are also common when an amateur or semiprofessional club tries to acquire its own facilities to become a professional club, and no money and/or space is available to build their own in a long-established location.
Team moves in China are very common, as teams are privately owned or owned by businesses, and there are neither rules regarding moves nor many established fan bases outside of the handful of established top teams:
Bayi F.T. was a club under the sport branch of the People's Liberation Army, founded in 1927, one of the oldest clubs in the country. The club's reign as one of the most successful clubs in China would end with the advent of professionalism within the league. When the first fully professional league season started in 1994 the club were given special dispensation to remain as semi-professional as possible by having all their members remain active military members, however the club did start to take in sponsorship money to pay for the cost of running the club. At first little changed and the team even came third within the 1996 league season. Where the club really struggled was their ability to hold on to their contingent of Chinese international players such as Hao Haidong, Hu Yunfeng and Jiang Jin who started to leave the club for better offers. This saw the club struggle being unable to replace them through the transfer market and ultimately see them relegated to the second tier for the first time in the club's history. With less money coming in the club decided to disassociate themselves from their traditional Beijing home and took offers from other cities and sponsors to play for. They moved to Xinxiang and Liuzhou to accommodate their sponsors and while this worked for a brief period, which saw the club gain promotion back into the top tier the Chinese FA launched the rebranded Chinese Super League, which required more stringent conditions for the club to work in. Unfortunately this coincided with the loss in form of the team who were relegated at the end of the 2003 league season. The loss of prize money and stricter regulations ultimately forced Bayi to disband.
Tianjin Runyulong, founded in August 2009, was originally planned take over the licence of Anhui Jiufang and be based at the 18,000-seat Minyuan Stadium in Tianjin, but the club quickly find out that the full acquisition of Anhui Jiufang as well as the running cost of the club would cost them 540 million yuan, more than the club expected and that they would need to quickly find investment if they were to pay their players on time. The investment would come from the local Shenbei government who wanted them to move into the 30,000-seat Tiexi Stadium in Shenyang. In July 2011, Tianjin Runyulong moved to the city of Shenyang and the name changed to Shenyang Shenbei. The club was officially dissolved on 27 February 2015.
Nippon Professional Baseball is run in similar fashion to MLB and has moved several franchises out of crowded markets. Moves also happened when the teams changed ownership (which also sometimes involved changing the team name).
In South Africa most football clubs are privately owned, and club moves are relatively common. Several clubs, including top division Premier Soccer League clubs have moved and taken on new identities. There are many other cases of South African moves. The ease of selling and buying of club licences make moves common and sometimes difficult to determine what determines a continuation of a relocated club or whether it is an entirely separate new entity.
Hellenic F.C.'s franchise was sold by the Greek owners in early 2004 to the Ndlovu family who renamed it Premier United and moved it to Benoni, Gauteng. In 2011, the Hellenic franchise took over the former Blaauwberg City FC, under the management of Mark Byrne. Byrne is looking to revive the quality of the 1970s, to become one of the best youth developments in the country. In 2013, the club acquired a SAB League franchise (South African 4th Division). In August 2016, the club announced that they had sold their SAFA Second Division franchise license to "ensure that we grow from strength to strength in achieving our aim to be the number one youth structure in Cape Town."
^"Hornets all the buzz in Charlotte". ESPN.com. ESPN Internet Ventures, LLC. Associated Press. May 20, 2014. Retrieved 2014. [Hornets president and CEO Fred] Whitfield also announced that, in collaboration with the NBA and the Pelicans, all the statistical information, records and history of Charlotte NBA basketball will be restored to the franchise. That means the Hornets will now own and have access to all the historical elements from the recent Bobcats era (2004-14) as well as the original Hornets teams that played in Charlotte....