Salt Lake City MLB expansion franchise plans



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Planned MLB expansion in Salt Lake City Image: Salt Lake City, Utah (US), Pasteur, CC BY-SA 3.0

A group led by Gail Miller, former owner of the National Basketball Association’s (NBA) team Utah Jazz, intends to pursue a Major League Baseball (MLB) franchise in Salt Lake City, Utah (US).

‘cbssports.com’ stated that the group, Big League Utah, joins Nashville’s Music City Baseball and the Portland’s Diamond Project in seeking an MLB expansion franchise. Las Vegas, another expansion possibility, may get the relocated Oakland Athletics.

New York (US)-based Major League Baseball (MLB) is a professional baseball organization and the oldest major professional sports league in the world. The MLB is composed of 30 teams, divided equally between the National League (NL) and the American League (AL), with 29 in the United States and 1 in Canada.

The Big League Utah, a broad-based community coalition, believes Utah is the ‘Future of America’s Pastime’. Like baseball’s brightest stars, Utah is a 5-tool player for its growth, economy, location, sports culture, and quality of life. The coalition has targeted a shovel-ready site for a new MLB ballpark at the 100-acre Rocky Mountain Power District in Salt Lake City.

Nashville, Tennessee (US)-based the Music City Baseball, LLC is an organization of Nashville business, sports, music, and community leaders. The MCB is committed to bringing a Major League Baseball franchise to the City of Nashville (Tennessee, US) as a central piece of a mixed-use, multithemed family, sports and entertainment district. Its focus is to secure Major League Baseball approval of an expansion franchise in Nashville, although relocation and rebranding of an existing franchise would also be considered. Its goal is to complete construction of a new baseball stadium by early 2024 and commence competition in the Spring of 2024.

The Oakland Athletics are an American professional baseball team based in Oakland, California. The Athletics compete in Major League Baseball as a member club of the American League West division. The team plays its home games at the 63,000-capacity Oakland Coliseum.

‘cbssports.com’ further stated that the Salt Lake City coalition includes the Larry H. Miller Company – the conglomerate founded by Miller’s late husband, Larry, an automobile magnate – as well as local business leaders and former major league players Dale Murphy and Jeremy Guthrie, both Utah residents. The group has targeted building a stadium in the Rocky Mountain Power District, a 100-acre mixed-use zone located between Salt Lake City’s new airport and its downtown core, an investment that would come on top of an expected $2 billion expansion fee.

Said Steve Starks, head honcho of the Miller Company, “The Salt Lake City is a major league City. We believe that as a top-30 media market in the fastest-growing State in the country with the youngest population, that’s where our attention should be – and that we could accomplish bringing a team to the Wasatch Front (region in Utah).”

Last Summer, the MLB Players’ Association Executive Director Tony Clark said the union is hopeful the MLB could expand to 32 teams in the near future. Back in 2018, the MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said the same, echoing the hope for 32 teams at some point. Manfred has said the ‘A’s’ (Oakland Athletics) and Tampa Bay Rays need new stadiums before the MLB expands, however.

The Major League Baseball Players’ Association is the union representing all current Major League Baseball players. All players, managers, coaches, and athletic trainers who hold or have held a signed contract with a Major League club are eligible for membership in the Association.

At some point, the MLB will almost certainly expand to 32 teams, maybe in five years or maybe in 50 years. When it does happen, the league is likely to shift to four four-team divisions per league. There would be significant realignment as well as an expansion draft, plus hundreds of millions of dollars (if not billions) for the league and the 30 current teams in expansion fees.

The Jazz are Utah’s only franchise in the four major North American sports. The Salt Lake Bees, Triple-A affiliate of the Los Angeles Angels, play in the City and are getting a new stadium built by Miller’s company in 2025.

The Utah Jazz is an American professional basketball team based in Salt Lake City, US. The Jazz compete in the National Basketball Association (NBA) as a member of the league’s Western Conference Northwest Division. Since the 1991-1992 seasons, the team has played its home games at the 20,000-capacity Vivint Arena.

The Salt Lake Bees are a Minor League Baseball (MiLB) team of the Pacific Coast League and the Triple-A affiliate of the MLB team Los Angeles Angels. They are located in Salt Lake City, Utah, and play their home games at the Smith’s Ballpark. The ballpark opened in 1994 and has a seating capacity of 15,411, the largest in their league.

Florida (US)-based the Minor League Baseball (MiLB) is professional baseball below Major League Baseball (MLB), including teams affiliated with the MLB clubs and independent baseball leagues consisting of unaffiliated teams.

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