Gov. Spencer Cox Is Optimistic Utah Can Land NHL Or MLB Franchise

Feb 21, 2023, 11:31 AM | Updated: 12:19 pm


Lt. Governor Spencer Cox and his family toss around a football in their backyard Friday, Oct. 25, 2013 in Fairview. (Courtesy of Deseret News)

(Courtesy of Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY – Utah hosted the NBA All-Star game and Salt Lake City did an amazing job of making this event huge with tons of events and activities all over the city.

When big events come to the state of Utah, the question always comes up about whether the area can support another major pro sports franchise like an NHL or MLB team or not.

The Salt Lake market is comparable to Kansas City, Cincinnati, Milwaukee, and San Diego. All of those cities have a Major League Baseball franchise and have or had an NFL team in town.

Utah Gov. Spencer Cox told Unrivaled that he is optimistic about the Salt Lake area supporting not just one more pro sports franchise but two if given the chance.

RELATED: Utah Jazz owner Ryan Smith Eyes Third Pro Sports Team In Utah

“It is a big enough market for both of things [an NHL and MLB franchises],” Cox said. “You will see a major push to work with both Major League Baseball and the NHL. We will see what that looks like moving forward but there certainly has been talk with expansion in Major League Baseball.

“We just know that because of our demographics, because of the change over the past 20 years post-Olympics that Utah is going to be on their radar. And we are certainly interested and will be pushing as hard as we can.

“I would not be surprised to see some additions over the next decade here in the state of Utah and would certainly love to have an NHL or Major League Baseball team,” Cox finished.

Getting another sports franchise would be huge for the area. Hosting an Olympics or All-Star weekend is a way to show that Salt Lake can hold big-time events and with the growing population in the state, the governor is bullish that at least one more pro sports franchise could move to Utah.

An NFL Team, Not So Much

The NFL is the white whale of pro sports franchises and would be an amazing thing for Salt Lake City to land.

Utah is about a top 30 television market and it is on par or even bigger in population size next to some NFL teams like the Green Bay Packers or Buffalo Bills. Those two teams are legacy franchises and have been around forever.

So having a market size of Salt Lake come in at this time might be difficult. Especially, when NFL expansion has eyes overseas.

The market size is growing and getting bigger but the governor doesn’t think this area is quite there yet.

“Obviously, everybody would love an NFL team we are still a little small of a market for that, and I don’t know what expansion looks like there,” he said. “I think the other two are definitely in play and it doesn’t mean it will happen but we have a shot.”

An NFL team is a pipe dream but if Utah were to land even just an NHL or MLB franchise it would be a significant deal for Salt Lake City.

Tune into Unrivaled every Monday through Friday, 3-6 p.m. on 1280 AM and 97.5 FM, or subscribe to the podcast. Also, download the all-new KSL Sports app on iOS or Android.

KSL Unrivaled

A detailed view of the fingernails of Caleb Williams #13 of the USC Trojans that spelled out Utah...

Jeremy Mauss

USC Beat Writer Calls Trojans A ‘Soft’ Program

Utah's defense could have a big day against the USC offensive line.

7 months ago


Michelle Bodkin

Nate Johnson On Utah’s New-Found Offensive Spark Ahead Of USC

Utah quarterback Nate Johnson joined the Player's Club to discuss the Utes' offensive spark ahead of a big matchup against USC this weekend.

7 months ago

Utah Football Oregon State Beavers QB Nate Johnson...

Michelle Bodkin

Utah Quarterback Nate Johnson Discusses Evolving Under Pressure

Utah quarterback Nate Johnson discussed with Unrivaled's Player's Club about evolving quickly in a high-pressure situation.

7 months ago


Michelle Bodkin

Nate Johnson Says He’d Like To Meet Michael Jackson, His Reason Will Surprise You

Utah QB Nate Johnson says he would choose to meet Michael Jackson if time travel existed due to a family connection with the King of Pop.

8 months ago

Nate Johnson - Utah Utes vs. Arizona...

Michelle Bodkin

Utah Quarterback Nate Johnson Discusses What Motivates Him To Win

Utah quarterback Nate Johnson discussed his motivation in light of showdown between Colorado and Oregon last weekend.

8 months ago


Michelle Bodkin

Nate Johnson Discusses ‘Next Man Up’ Mentality As Utah Football’s Backup QB

Utah football's backup quarterback Nate Johnson was fourth on the depth chart at one point but has positioned himself as a key player.

8 months ago

Sponsored Articles

Follow @kslsports...

KSL Give-A-Thon

The KSL Sports Zone, KSL 5 TV, FM100.3, 103.5 The Arrow, and KSL NewsRadio have teamed up to raise money for the kids being served by Primary Children’s Care!


KSL Sports

KSL Sports Newsletter: Sign Up Now

Sign up today for the KSL Sports newsletter. Get the latest Utah sports news delivered to your inbox.


KSL Sports

Jazz Notes Newsletter: Sign Up Now

Sign up today for the Jazz Notes newsletter. Get insider analysis, game recaps and opportunities to win tickets!

Follow @kslsports...

The Road Home Mediathon 2023

The KSL Sports Zone and KSLSports.com are proud to support the all-day Mediathon 2023 at the Road Home, an annual tradition to raise money and other essential items for the Road Home, a Homeless Shelter.

3 kids wearing real salt lake jerseys smiling...

Real Salt Lake

6 Reasons You Need to Experience a RSL Matchday

RSL Games are a great way to spend time with your family with fun activities, good food, and traditions you can only experience at the field.

High angle view of the beautiful Rose Bowl Stadium...

KSL Digital Sales

How to Prepare for the 2023 Rose Bowl

Everything you need to know to plan your 2023 Rose Bowl trip in Pasadena, California. This year, the Utes will face Penn State.

Gov. Spencer Cox Is Optimistic Utah Can Land NHL Or MLB Franchise