The problem sports games have with team relocation and expansion

From the video game 'Madden NFL'. From the video game 'Madden NFL'. EA SPORTS

Recently, leagues such as the NFL and NHL have seen expansion and relocations happening at a rate that haven't happened in decades. Rams moved to L.A., Chargers moved to L.A., and the Raiders still can move. The NHL, NFL, MLB, and NBA also have possible relocation issues, and since 2000, every major league has had at least one relocation.

And while it's playing it's making fans excited/angry all over, one place the impact is hardly felt is video games. While games like the Madden series allow you to move teams and even give convincing reasons like fan support and money to move, it's not going terribly into depth with them. What are they missing? For one, the impact and backlash of fans.

Via Gamezone

A team moving can be a traumatic experience and can shift what teams are looking for teams. In 1984, the Colts moved from Baltimore to Indianapolis in an extremely controversial move, causing the Browns to move to Baltimore in 1995 and getting an expansion team in 1999. The Charlotte Hornets on the NBA side of things moved to New Orleans in the early 2000's, briefly playing in Oklahoma City after Hurricane Katrina. This caused not only new expansion teams in both Charlotte and Oklahoma, but also caused the Hornets name coming back into Charlotte.

For games, this has a huge impact from season mode on up. Fans are lost, and gained. Rivalries are formed. Players hate new cities they're going to, or don't want to join teams that abandoned a city. Sometimes, they DO want to join a team once it's in a more favorable location, such as John Elway who refused to join the Baltimore Colts. Team morale and attendance shift. Temporary stadiums are put into play (such as the Charger's going into a stadium that has less seats than minor league baseball stadiums and was built for soccer.), new stadiums are built, and teams that moved back and forth between cities reconnect with their fan base, or go into a city that doesn't want them.

In games all of this can add up to shift in season mode, owner mode and even individual games you play with your friends. It might be fun to put a team in Albuquerque, but will fans really turn out? Besides allowing a team to move and a few details into what makes a successful move or expansion team, reality makes changes much more drastically than games allow you to do. In Madden, if you move the Raiders and have their first game be in San Francisco, it's all going to be happy fans and announcers announcing the new team in a new stadium. In real life, there would be protests, booing fans, drastic cuts in profits and all sorts of things that would cut into carelessly moving a team because you thought a team would work in Omaha. Madden can't foresee teams moving into tiny stadiums and other series can't foresee NHL teams going to more exotic locations – but they happen and are rumored for years in advance.

Via Fansided

Video games, especially sport games, are for fun. You mess with teams, you create squads with nothing but kickers and you make baseball teams with nothing but catchers – that's hilarious and fun. But many players also go into the realistic side of things and want to try their hand at managing a team or owning a team. And by leaving out aspects like city leases, angry fans and other small details that add up into something bigger, you don't get that experience. You get the best case scenario version. And it's not like that. The Los Angeles Rams can have sell-outs every game because they think a big market will attract them, but in real life, they were struggling to fill in seats mid-season. Moving a team to a small stadium could make sense on paper, but games only have a certain set of stadiums and can't compete for a move like that.

Sports games need to include the good, the bad and the ugly of new or moving teams, but today, they only show the good, with only a point or two of ugly (Such as new fans reaction to team name and uniform choice). It needs to show everything, or else in the Madden universe, the Dublin Raiders may seem like a solid financial and well-loved idea instead of how crazy it would be in real-life.

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