Is Memphis hindered by their market? If so would they be better off somewhere else?I believe Memphis and New Orleans are the two smallest markets in the league.
Memphis was always thought to be too small a market to be a sustainable home to an NBA team. They've long been expected to move on from there at some point. Probably another 5-10 years away from that though. It isn't that long since they moved from Vancouver.
I was in Memphis with my wife about two years ago. On our way through I talked her into watching a mid week game vs Golden State. Our tickets were $5 each and the crowd was half emply, even though they had an upset win over San Antonio at home the night before. The game itself was great, Tony Allen played really well that night plus seeing Gasol and Z-Bo play together live was worth the price of admission alone ... $10!
It's a shame they don't have better home support because Fed-Ex Stadium and the locals are great, but the impression we got is that no one in town has any money. My lasting impression of the city is that outside of Beale Street most of the inner city areas resemble Hamsterdam from the Wire.
The crowds have picked up some since then.
Memphis used to be near the bottom of the league in attendance but their success that season and the playoff run has improved their attendance figures.
They have been firmly middle of the pack this season and last season in terms of numbers + percentage of seats filled ... after being near the bottom of the league for most of the previous years.
So at least things have picked up some in this regard.
But this is their strongest period and they are going to be hard pressed to sustain those attendance figures and revenue streams. They'll likely be right back where they where a few years ago in a couple of years time. Unable to adequately fill their stadium / generate enough revenue. There just doesn't seem to be enough people, enough money, to sustain that team in the long term in Memphis.
I am pretty sure they have been losing money fairly regularly ever since the team arrived there.