SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – The Miller Family and the Larry H. Miller Company are leading the charge in trying to bring a Major League Baseball team to Utah and Salt Lake City.
The group known as “Big League Utah” has picked out a 100-acre lot on Salt Lake City’s west side in the Rocky Mountain Power District near I-80 and North Temple for the site of 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.”
The announcement of Salt Lake’s formal bid for a professional baseball team comes just three months after it was announced the Salt Lake Bees – A Triple-A Baseball team also owned by the Larry H. Miller Company – would be moving to a new stadium that will be built in Daybreak.
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. “Our capital city and the residents of North Temple near the Power District are poised for an investment like this, and I welcome the opportunity to keep growing this cultural and economic hub of our great state and region.”
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 adding, “Salt Lake has it all: a young and growing population, a prime ballpark location, a booming economy, and a dedicated community of supporters.”
The unnamed MLB team would become the fourth professional sports team in Salt Lake City, should the Utah capital be awarded the team. Utah also hosts the NBA’s Utah Jazz, which was formerly owned by the Larry H. Miller Company before they sold to Qualtrics co-founder Ryan Smith. Smith is also part owner of Real Salt Lake in Major League Soccer, which will be re-adding the Utah Royals in the National Women’s Soccer League in 2024.