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Could Cincy support an NBA Franchise?

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Just saw a tweet about how well things are going sports wise at the moment in Cincinnati. 

- Bengals at #1 in AFC

- Bearcats #2 

- ROY Johnathon India

- ROY candidate Ja'Marr Chase

The tweet went on to say that it is too bad Cincinnati doesn't have an NBA franchise. Could Cincy handle being an NBA town again? What happened to the Royals the first time anyway? 


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1 hour ago, nkypete said:

First of all, Cincinnati does not have a first class NBA arena.  The Heritage Bank Center would need to go.

31 minutes ago, ChickenWyngz said:

Is there an arena before there is a team in most expansion plans? I figured the two would go along with one another.

Major League Soccer requires to have an existing stadium or plans for a stadium - preferably one purpose-built for soccer - that will be under control of the team. I would assume the NBA has similar requirements for stadiums when it comes to expansion.

I keep on feeling like the 46 year old Heritage Bank Center has to be finding itself in an increasingly precocious situation, just because its frankly a total dump-hole inside, and there's no way its half-century old infrastructure is even remotely sound, much less efficient. But even so, the arena is co-owned by AEG and Nederlander Entertainment, and they ALSO co-own the Cincinnati Cyclones franchise, so obviously they have a built in regular client for the arena. Then, just looking at things, they also still have the market cornered locally for major "arena-sized" entertainment events because, even as much of a total dump-hole as the place is, it almost doubles the concert capacity of all three of the other local arenas. That's why, dump-hole or not, it's still the big venue in Cincinnati for national headline acts with major draws.

So if the NBA requires the arena that their team plays in to be under control of the team, there's no way a Cincinnati expansion team would be able to play at The Heritage Center unless the arena was sold to the new basketball team owners, or the owners of the new expansion team actually were the AEG/Nederlander partnership.

It would be really interesting to see how long the Heritage Bank Center would last if a new NBA arena came to town. The smallest current NBA arena is the Pelicans' Smoothie King Center, with a basketball capacity of 16,900 and the largest is the Bulls' United Center, with a basketball capacity of 20,900. So with very comparably sized new arena in town, I would have to think the draw of a newer facility, alone, would just about do in any competition the HBC could hope to have for hosting big arena events aside from the Cyclones games.

Heritage Bank Center
Concert: 17,556
Basketball: 17,000

BB&T Arena
Concert: 8,000
Basketball: 9,400

Fifth Third Arena
Concert: 9,600
Basketball: 12,000

Cintas Center
Concert: 9,000
Basketball: 10,250

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For what it's worth, the 17 years that have passed since the last NBA expanded to add the Charlotte Bobcats in 2004 make for the longest period the league has gone without an expansion since the league was first organized as the Basketball Association of America in 1946. Not only that, but it's the longest period by an 8-year margin. But with 30 teams, there realistically isn't a whole lot of potential for further expansion possible, assuming they don't make their way into Mexico or something like that.

MLB...30 teams. MLS...27 teams. NFL...32 teams. NHL...32 teams.

Years # Teams
1946–1947 11
1947–1948 8
1948–1949 12
1949–1950 17
1950–1951 11
1951–1953 10
1953–1955 9
1955–1961 8
1961–1966 9
1966–1967 10
1967–1968 12
1968–1970 14
1970–1974 17
1974–1976 18
1976–1980 22
1980–1988 23
1988–1989 25
1989–1995 27
1995–2004 29
2004–Present 30

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