Big League Utah, a coalition representing Salt Lake City, Utah, announced their plans to bid for a Major League Baseball expansion franchise in the near future on Wednesday morning.
Former Utah Jazz owner Gail Miller and former Major League Baseball players in Dale Murphy and Jeremy Guthrie lead Big League Utah. Murphy thinks the time is right for an MLB franchise in Utah, saying via ESPN, “It’s time. It can happen. And it’d be a great market. There’s a healthy love of baseball out here”.
The group states the fast growth of the state as the reason they believe Utah should be home to an MLB team. Utah is home to a top-30 media market, is consistently in the top-3 for local NBA TV ratings, and is number 1 in job growth. They currently have historically low unemployment and the highest median income of potential MLB expansion markets.
The group already has a site picked out for a potential ballpark at the 100-acre Rocky Mountain Power District in Salt Lake City. Big League Utah says the area is “shovel ready” for an MLB ballpark. Ballpark renderings were made available to the public when the announcement of the group’s intentions was made.
While it is not a done deal, Miller stresses that the group is confident they will get an MLB team in Utah. Big League Utah has the support of Utah Governor Spencer Cox and Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall, evident by their attendance and participation at the expansion franchise push announcement on Wednesday.
The group began their push about a year ago, which is around the same time when they approached MLB commissioner Rob Manfred to indicate their interest in bringing a ball club to Utah. Manfred has long expressed the desire to expand the league from 30 to 32 teams but maintains that solving stadium issues with the Tampa Bay Rays and Oakland Athletics must be completed first. Once those issues are solved, there will be no shortage of locations vying for the two expansion bids, with Nashville, Las Vegas, Portland, Charlotte, and Montreal joining Salt Lake City on the list.
Featured Image: Big League Utah