Major sports teams aren’t really necessary, like Charleston, Austin, Louisville, Asheville, etc. all have strong identities. And lots of major league sports teams in cities like Phoenix, Oklahoma City, Portland, or Sacramento aren’t really critical to the city’s identity. It’s definitely possible to create a cultural identity without big time pro sports.
And honestly, the Triangle will always be defined by college sports, particularly basketball as long as UNC and Duke are perennial powerhouses and NC State maintains its rabid, underdog fanbase (I mean that as a compliment). No metro (nor state even) in the country is defined by college basketball except the Triangle and NC and I’ve always been kind of proud of that. (Having grown up in NC back when watching the ACC tournament took precedence over classes, even for the teachers, no one will ever convince me that another sport will replace college BB).
That being said, I’d love for NC State to play somewhere that’s walkable to downtown. I’d love for Raleigh to host the ACC tournament.
And even though nobody is surprised by this by now, I’d love for Raleigh to keep building the “Smithsonian of the South” brand. I’m a huge nerd and love the actual Smithsonian and would love to see Raleigh add more museums that play to our cultural and technological history.