Utah’s wealthy and ubiquitous Miller Family and the Larry H. Miller Company are leading the charge to bring a Major League Baseball team to Salt Lake City.
The group known as “Big League Utah” has identified a 100-acre lot on Salt Lake City’s west side near I-80 as a potential site for a future MLB ballpark.
Big League Utah, led by the Miller Family, includes potential investors, former MLB baseball players, business and community leaders, and federal, state, and local lawmakers. According to a statement made by the group, Big League Utah believes Utah is the “Future of America’s Pastime.”
CEO of the Larry H. Miller Company Steve Starks said the company has been in an ongoing conversation with Major League Baseball and has formally registered interest in Salt Lake being considered as an expansion market.
“We have strong reasons to believe we will be a viable candidate,” said Starks. “The response has been universally enthusiastic as we have invited others to join the coalition. Anytime you’re in the running to add a professional baseball team to your market, you jump at that opportunity. Baseball becomes synonymous with great cities across this country. It helps form their identity.”
Government officials such as Gov. Spencer Cox and Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall have expressed their support to bring Major League Baseball to Utah, saying Salt Lake is ready for it.
“The infrastructure we already have in place – from our world-class international airport, to our robust transit system, our hotel and hospitality sectors, and our arts, culture and entertainment community – make us a perfect fit for this evolution,” said Mayor Mendenhall.
Gov. Cox pointed toward Utah’s economy and history of hosting big-time sporting events such as the 2002 Winter Olympics and two NBA All-Star Games. Cox called the state a “Top 30 media market” with plenty of amenities such as its snow and national and state parks, as a reason why more sports and events should be coming to the state.
Two-time MVP and former MLB player Dale Murphy said after playing for nearly two decades in the MLB, he knows what it takes for a city to successfully host professional baseball.
“Salt Lake has it all: a young and growing population, a prime ballpark location, a booming economy, and a dedicated community of supporters,” Murphy said.
It is unclear which existing MLB team, or teams, the group is targeting. MLB commissioner Rob Manfred has said the Oakland A’s and Tampa Bay Rays need new ballparks, making them possible suitors.