By Eric Balmer
Not a single professional sports franchise calls the Bluegrass State home. The only sports teams that are in Kentucky are college level and minor league teams (the most well known being the Louisville Bats, which is an affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds). One could make an argument that a professional sports team should be brought to Kentucky.
Obviously, University of Kentucky and the University of Louisville are the two major providers of sports entertainment to the state’s inhabitants.
Ticket prices for UK basketball games range from $40-$50 (ukathletics.com), while the prices for the Cleveland Cavaliers can reach $159. This is to say, there is much money to be made from having a professional sports team in this state.
In Ohio, there are several NCAA Division I schools, including Ohio State University, University of Cincinnati and Xavier University which have competitive teams in at least one sport. Even though there are these elite universities, unlike Kentucky, Ohio has not one professional team, but five.
Surely there is enough money, in a city like Louisville for example, to be sufficient for a new sports organization. According to the United States Census Bureau, Louisville has a population of 253,128, while Cincinnati has a population of 296,550. These cities are very close in size, but the difference is one has two professional teams while the other has none.
I mean sure, people love their Kentucky basketball. Yes, I understand that it’s not just a sport, it’s a way of life, a disease one could say. But what I’m trying to say is that there is money to be made in, let’s say, a professional basketball team (obviously the NBA would have to be open for adding an expansion team). If you don’t want to look at it from a monetary sense, then just imagine the excitement that a new team would bring to a city and state; the energy of a new team to rally behind would be magnificent.
Maybe my Ohio disposition makes it impossible for me to understand the intensity of college sports in the state of Kentucky, but I think gaining a professional sports team would be a great opportunity for this state. The benefit will be not just for the city that gains the team, but also the whole Bluegrass State. In the words of Barry from “Dinner for Schmucks”, “You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not.” You see, I don’t think it’s too ridiculous to want a professional franchise to come to Kentucky.