There are probably a ton of different things that could keep the average die-hard sports fan up at night when it comes to their favorite team.
They might be worrying that their team is struggling and could fall out of a tight playoff race if they don't pick it up. They could be fretting over the loss of a star player, waiting breathlessly for the diagnosis that will reveal how long the player will be out for, a time period that could make or break a team's season. They might be up thinking about a heartbreaking loss, the end of a season, or any number of different things that the average person might think are reasons that are crazy to lose sleep over, but to the die-hard sports fan it's simply part of the "job."
The one thing that no sports fan wants to have to worry about, though, is the possibility of completely losing their team. For a die-hard sports fan, losing their franchise to relocation could be the equivalent of losing a pet, a close friend, even a loved one. The relationship between fan and team often runs deeper that what we see on the surface; wearing a jersey, cheering for a goal, screaming at officials over a bad call. It's a passion that runs through the veins, an unbreakable bond that lasts through even the worst of franchise droughts (looking at you, Cubs fans). Just the mention of relocation can ruin a fan's entire day, so the realistic possibility would do to someone can ruin an entire year.
Having lived through the loss of the Montreal Expos, myself and other Montrealers can relate to the fans on this top-10 list who might be feeling the stress born from rumors of their team packing up and moving on to another city.
10 Sacramento Kings
The Sacramento Kings came very close to not being on this list at all, as they were on the verge to moving to Seattle just a few months ago. Ultimately, that did not happen, but it doesn't change the situation with the Kings. Attendance hasn't been great, the team hasn't been doing much winning, and there's clearly a desire from the current owners, the Maloof family, to unload the team, which is valued at nearly less than half of what the league average was in 2014. Kings fans have gotten some relief, but the pressure to move is still mounting.
9 Arizona Coyotes
Yes, the Coyotes are safe... for now. They've changed their name and are hoping it symbolizes a new start, of sorts, that will spur the Coyotes towards legitimacy and relevancy in Arizona. The fact remains, though, that Arizona, or Phoenix for that matter, has not been able to prove itself as a viable market for the National Hockey League. While a new agreement will keep the team down south for awhile, it doesn't mean anything will be different this time around. If attendance doesn't increase, the idea of moving the Coyotes will remain.
8 Cleveland Indians
For a team that used to sell out games with relative ease in the late 90's and early 2000's, it's almost surprising to see the Indians on a list like this. The attendance numbers don't lie, though and even with a new stadium, the Indians have ranked in the bottom 3 in attendance every year since 2011. Combine that with a lack of success on the field and the competition for relevancy in Cleveland with LeBron and Johnny Manziel taking up most of the spotlight, the Indians will be hard-pressed to recapture the city's attention.
7 Jacksonville Jaguars
It seems like the Jaguars are always mentioned in the discussion for relocation, and the easy (and lazy) argument that is made is that they are no good, so no one bothers going to their games, which leads to lost revenue. No matter how basic that argument is, though, it's the main reason why the Jags are always one rich guy away from packing up and moving, and that rich guy might already own the team. Shad Khan already has a few teams in England, so not only would he understand the landscape, he'd also take solace in the fact that even if the team went 0-16, each game would be a sellout.
6 Nashville Predators
It was a head-scratcher when we initially found out that the Nashville Predators were getting an NHL franchise before some other potential cities. They've been able to ice a solid team over the years, led by Barry Trotz, but the past few seasons have shown that the team needs to be winning to garner any real interest in Tennessee. Between the low attendance and yearly losses, it could only be a matter of time before the franchise becomes completely unsustainable.
5 Oakland A's
It's a shame to see such a talented, exciting team on this list, but the issues in Oakland are real enough for A's fans to have serious concerns about the future of their team. If Billy Beane hadn't been able to figure out how to field a winning team in a small market all those years ago, the A's might already be playing in another town. The team's stadium is the real point of contention, and if that doesn't get resolved soon Oakland may no longer be able to call the A's their own.
4 Oakland Raiders
Oakland fans will not like this list at all. The city could have no professional sports teams before long, a sporting tragedy if we've ever seen one. With no long-term options for the Davis family in the Bay Area, though, combined with the gathering momentum and support for a team in Los Angeles, the Raiders could very soon be on their way out of Oakland - but at least they'd be going back to their former home and the place where they won their most recent championship. There's also rumors about a move to San Antonio, but we doubt that Jerry Jones would ever allow that.
3 Buffalo Bills
The Buffalo Bills might have one of the most loyal and passionate fan-bases in the entire North American sporting world, yet their team is hampered by the small-market they play in. The talk of moving the Bills has gone on for years, and it only picked up steam when they started playing games in Toronto on a yearly basis. With several potential owners now openly in the picture, it seems like it's only a matter of time before the relocation of the Bills goes from a nagging worry to a very real nightmare.
2 Tampa Bay Rays
One might say the Tampa Bay Rays are the Montreal Expos of Florida baseball, except for the fact that Jeffrey Loria is actually in Florida ruining another franchise (but I digress). The Rays have been one of the better teams in the American League East over the past few years, but a horrible stadium and indifferent fan-base has led to warranted speculation as to not if they will move, but rather when and where they'll be headed. Whoever gets the Rays will inherit a team that is ready to compete both now and in the future.
1 Florida Panthers
If the empty seats or horrible management wasn't enough to convince you as to why the Florida Panthers fully deserve the top spot on this list, this might do the trick:
“The arena and the team have lost a significant amount of money year over year for the last 10-plus years and the current business model is not sustainable." - Panthers owner Doug Cifu.
When the guy who owns the team is coming out and saying that it's flat out not working, you know that the possibility of relocation is very real and probably looming. The sooner Gary Bettman let's go of his "SunBelt" pipe-dream (although it's been over 20 years now, and there's nothing to suggest his mindset has changed), the better off the NHL will be.
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