When I first heard the Sacremento Kings are considering a move to Virginia Beach, Va., I thought it was ridiculous. The NBA has had success in small markets, but come on.
Then I looked it up. The Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News metropolitan statistical area isn’t that small. It’s bigger than Oklahoma City, Salt Lake City, Milwaukee, New Orleans, or Memphis—all of which have NBA teams—and it’s just very slightly smaller than Indianapolis. And unlike the Bucks, Hornets, or Pacers, a Virginia Beach Kings squad wouldn’t need to compete with any other pro sports teams. And in a lot of ways, avoiding competition seems to be a big factor in NBA franchise success. Obviously the ideal location is to be in a giant city, but barring the availability of New York or Los Angeles or Chicago, the “find a smallish city with no MLB, NFL, or NHL competition” strategy seems to be a pretty sound route to a consistent fan base.
Long story short, the Virginia Beach metro area’s name doesn’t exactly ring out nationally, but more people live there than you’d think