WATCH: The feasibility of bringing Major League Baseball to SLC

Apr 17, 2023, 9:30 PM | Updated: Jun 14, 2023, 12:44 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — Last week, the Larry H. Miller Company along with prominent community members and leaders in a coalition called Big League Utah announced their intention to bring Major League Baseball to Salt Lake City.

In the days since the announcement, a lot of conversations have been had about how this would all work out if Salt Lake City is selected as an expansion city.

On Monday, KSL NewsRadio hosts Dave & Dujanovic discussed the feasibility of bringing another professional sports team to Salt Lake City. They were joined by Walter Franco, a local marketing expert and principal at Victus Advisors.

What makes SLC attractive to Major League Baseball?

Dave Noriega asked, “What did you learn from the feasibility study that made us such an attractive place for Major League Baseball?”

Franco mentions Utah has seen a growth to its economy and population.

“And so, there’s definitely a lot of pros for Salt Lake City,” he said.

However, Franco said Salt Lake City will face some stiff competition from other cities. Those cities include Charlotte, Portland, Nashville, and Las Vegas.

“And so, it really depends on the competition, and it really depends ultimately on what MLB wants to do,” Franco said.

MLB has stated that it would like to expand to 32 teams. However, it would like to have stadium issues resolved first with teams in Tampa Bay and Oakland before expanding.

In one scenario, the Oakland A’s would move to Las Vegas, which is roughly 5.5 hours from Salt Lake City. And Denver is roughly an eight-hour drive from Salt Lake City.

“Does it make sense for the owners to have three western markets so tightly close together?” Franco asked.

Other factors to consider

Other factors MLB will have to consider when expanding is television markets and market population. 

Of the other cities vying for expansion franchise, Charlotte has the 21st-largest television market with a population of 2.1 million. Salt Lake City is 29th with a population of 1.3 million, according to Franco.

Noriega asked, “How much did the Millers being part of the ownership group improve the chances or contribute to the feasibility of Major League Baseball? And how much does having a shovel-ready sight in downtown improve the chances?”

“Those are two of the key factors that are in the pros for an MLB franchise coming to Salt Lake,” Franco said. 

Franco says when any professional sports league is considering an expansion franchise, they want leadership with experience.

“They don’t want rookies,” he said. “Especially nowadays with the modern deals for TV rights.”

Debbie Dujanovic asked, “A lot is being made about having a lot of young people in our community. The youth is that a big deal in a bid for an MLB team?”

“I think one of the things MLB has struggled with over the last 10 to 15 years is the perception is it’s become less attractive to youth because the games longer,” Franco said.

With recent rule implementations of a clock for pitchers and batters, he says MLB is attempting to appeal to younger people.

Dave & Dujanovic can be heard weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app, as well as Apple Podcasts and Google Play.  

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Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

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WATCH: The feasibility of bringing Major League Baseball to SLC