While some smaller cities such as Salt Lake City and Buffalo have been able to keep a professional sports franchise, there have been many others that lost out and saw their team transferred to another location. Most of the time, the cities lose the franchise because of attendance or stadium issues. These cities once hosted MLB, NFL, NHL and NBA teams, but lost them to other, more lucrative locations.
Right after WWII, the Tri-Cities of Rock Island, IL, Davenport, IA, and Moline, IL had an NBA team. The team, known as the Tri-Cities Blackhawks played here from 1946 to 1951. The team eventually moved to Atlanta and are now known as the Atlanta Hawks.
Decatur, IL was once home to the American Professional Football Association. and the Chicago Bears. In 1921, the team was moved to Chicago where it has remained.
Indiana loves basketball and Ft. Wayne once hosted the Pistons, an NBA team. Eventually, the team moved to Detroit.
Portsmouth, OH was once home to the Portsmouth Spartans. The city even built a new stadium in 1929, but still lost the team when it was moved to Detroit and the name changed to the Detroit Lions.
Duluth Minnesota had a professional football team called the Duluth Kelleys. The team was named after the Kelley-Duluth Hardware Store. While still in Duluth, the team name was changed to the Eskimos, but the franchise ended two years later.
In 1949, the teams of the Basket Ball Association of America merged with the teams from the National Basketball League to form the National Basketball Association. Sheboygan, Wisconsin had hosted the Sheboygan Red Skins while in the NBL but lost the team just one year after joining the NBA.
Today, small cities still hosting professional sports teams worry about keeping them. These teams sometimes move or sometimes fold and the communities feel the loss.