Salt Lake City backers have thrown their hat into the MLB expansion derby.
Nobody had Salt Lake City on the list of contenders of what eventually might be two openings for expansion teams in Major League Baseball. There was this magical list of Nashville, Las Vegas, Montréal, Portland, Oregon, maybe Charlotte, maybe San Antonio, maybe some city in Mexico but Salt Lake City was never mentioned, until now. On April 12th, the Miller family of Salt Lake City threw their hat into the ring in an effort to land a Major League Baseball expansion franchise or perhaps go after a team with a disgruntled owner that might want to relocate the business to Utah. There are two MLB ownerships looking for new stadiums in their home markets, Oakland and Tampa Bay. The reason why MLB is not expanding to 32 teams at the moment is the stadium problems in Oakland and Tampa Bay.
Salt Lake City is a small market. According to 2022–2023 Nielsen rankings of American TV markets, it is 29 but that is bigger than some MLB TV markets including San Diego, Kansas City, Cincinnati and Milwaukee. Salt Lake City has a bigger TV market than Las Vegas, the city that Oakland Athletics owner John Fisher is exploring as a possible destination for his team. Steve Starks, CEO of the Larry H. Miller Company said he thinks there would be corporate support for a Salt Lake City MLB franchise. “If you look at the growth of Utah over the past two decades it’s been phenomenal. We have the nation’s strongest economy, No. 1 job growth, a very diverse economy and a young population. It’s a strength of market we weren’t able to offer the last time baseball expanded. But now we have so many tailwinds and so much momentum we’re getting noticed on a national level and are definitely in the conversation.” Salt Lake City leaders want MLB.
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