Will An NHL Team In Utah Hurt Salt Lake City’s Major League Baseball Chances?

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SLC is a very small market.

If you think sports commissioners in the United States don’t keep tabs on other leagues, you are wrong. Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred wants to get to 32 teams and enrich his owners with expansion fees but he simply cannot get there. Oakland ownership and Tampa Bay ownership have not  resolved stadium issues. Once that happens then the Barons of Baseball could expand or maybe not. Manfred has other issues that have cropped up. Voters in Jackson County, Missouri refused to extend a sales tax that would have funded a downtown Kansas City baseball park and that puts a question mark over the future of the Kansas City Royals franchise. Arizona Diamondbacks ownership wants either a new or renovated Phoenix stadium and a stadium issue exists in Chicago where the White Sox’s owner, the 88-year-old Jerry Reinsdorf wants a new venue. Manfred has a list of cities and investors that want in. Nashville and Portland, Oregon backers seem to be aggressively pursuing a Major League Baseball expansion team. Las Vegas is out as an expansion possibility with John Fisher planning to take his Oakland Athletics baseball franchise to Nevada.

Meanwhile there are people in Salt Lake City who want an expansion team but have Ryan Smith and the National Hockey League thrown a monkey wrench into the Salt Lake City baseball backers’ plan with the move of the Arizona franchise to Utah? Salt Lake City is a small television market and Salt Lake City is not a very desirable TV market as Ryan Smith’s National Basketball Association’s Utah Jazz franchise games are on a far less lucrative local over-the-air TV station than a regional sports station. Smith’s planned hockey team is not going to get much TV money either. Is there enough corporate money left for MLB in Utah? There is no doubt Manfred is watching Smith and the NHL in Utah because it does impact MLB expansion.

Ryan Smith