I should clarify by saying that my issue lies more in the difficulties that would work against such a move. Let's set aside for the moment the fact that both blazersforum.com and blazerforum.com are registered already, and hence unavailable, and consider the issues that we'd have to face.Thanks. What do you disagree with?
Implementation-wise, it'd be pretty easy to buy the biggest teams their own domains. You could even leave in the existing forum structure, but just put in multiple "OT" boards. In the banner at the top, put BlazerBoards.com (or whatever) really large, and then "A BasketballForum.com Community" pretty small and off to the side. (I always hated having to browse to the Blazers board from the home page anyway.)
You could even help customers sell the site to others by selling crap on CafePress.
As a customer of this site, if I could buy a baseball cap with the Basketball Forum logo on it, I definitely wouldn't. But if I could buy a baseball cap with BlazerBoards.com (or whatever) I might at least consider it. (In fact, the Blazers have been pretty cool to us in the past. They might even consider giving us permission to use a small copy of their logo if we promise to donate all profits to, say, Brandon Roy's favorite charity. Think about the publicity your site and the Blazers would get on that one.)
Anyway, most small businesses have a real tough time transitioning to bigger businesses. They try to run things the same way they used to, because it used to work fine. I think a similar problem happened here. The thing to remember is that the whole goal is to have huge communities, not small ones. So when one of them starts giving you massive headaches, that's the time to switch gears because they want to take the next step (even if they don't exactly know it).
First, there's the VerticalScope issue, in that the site has to fit in with their overall business model, which includes forums for each sport, bandwidth allocations for each one and so on. Let's say we can get around that, whether by obtaining the other domains at a discount or what have you.
There would be ramifications for this site as well. For one thing, cross-posting from such spun-off forums would decrease from an already low level, considering that posters would then be on a different site entirely. We have had people complaining about having to scroll down the main page of this site, calling it too much effort...
Then there are the long-term potential issues. Let's say that we create the additional domain, under whatever name, and are then faced with an exodus for whatever reason. We'd be stuck with an additional domain name, and associated costs. And even while the spin-off is functional, this site would be left with a gaping hole where a thriving team forum should be. And again, there'd be a long-term reduction in posting in other forums. The simple fact is that these sites, as a whole, do better when posters expand their interests throughout the site than when a strong fan base maintains its enthusiasm for however long - but remains largely insular.
Those are some of the considerations I'd have to work with before even proposing a significant move like that. The fact is that there are always a number of issues that have to be resolved before we decide to add or subtract forums on this site, and those issues would be magnified exponentially when fragmentation would become an issue.
Here's a counter-thought though. How much would the addition of a domain router help posters only interested in, say, the Blazers? Hypothetically, if you could just type in BBFBlazers.com or something like that and go straight to the Blazers page, would that make a difference? I'm not saying that's even possible, but trying to find a theoretical middle ground.