Our last instalment of the Simpsons and sports economics comes from Season 12 episode Hungry, Hungry Homer. First aired in the United States in March 2001, the storyline sees Homer go on hungry strike in an attempt to keep the “Springfield Isotopes” in Springfield.
Following a disappointing Minor League Season, Lenny decides to look for a refund on his season ticket from Springfield Isotopes' owner Howard K. Duff VIII. Duff refuses forcing Homer to intervene. Homer confronts the owner in his office, and following a brief (unsuccessful) discussion, discovers merchandise in an adjoining room labelled “Albuquerque Isotopes”. Homer asserts that the owners plan to move the team to New Mexico, a claim that is flatly rejected.
In more than 550 episodes of the Simpsons, this is one of the very few times where Homer’s intuition turns out to be correct. The storyline is a direct reference to the Albuquerque Dukes (now Albuquerque Isotopes), a Minor League Baseball team who won several Pacific Coast League (PCL) championships in the 1970s and 1980s before relocating to Portland, Oregon, and becoming the Portland Beavers in 2001.
It is simply impossible to consider this in European football or rugby. In fact, even relatively minor deviations from the status quo (by American standards) such as changing team colours (Cardiff City) or proposals to change a team name (Hull City to Hull Tigers) are met with fierce resistance by fans groups.
Homer is successful in his quest. The Mayor of Albuquerque, the man who is behind the move to steal the Isotopes from Springfield, instead plans to purchase the Dallas Cowboys. When he is informed that they are a (American) football team he replys that he will force them to play baseball insisting "For I am the Mayor of Albuquerque!" A classic Simpsons’ quote.