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.

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