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SALT LAKE CITY

Salt Lake City landmark

KEY FACTS

Metropolitan Area: Salt Lake City, Utah

Metro Area Population: 1.15 million people
Metro Area Median Age: 33.6 yrs old
Metro Area Median Household Income: $81,307 (USD)
Other 'Big 5' Franchises in city: Utah Jazz (NBA), Real Salt Lake (MLS)
Number of Fortune 1000-equivalent businesses in city: 1
Combined annual revenue of Fortune 1000-equivalent businesses in city: $3bn (USD)

Currently home to the NBA's Utah Jazz and MLS's Real Salt Lake, Salt Lake City is primed to enter MLB's expansion race. Big League Utah, a consortium led by former owner of the Jazz and current owner of the triple-a Salt Lake Bees Gail Miller, has laid out plans to bring baseball to the city. A feasibility study has been conducted, which Steve Starks - another member of the Big League Utah group - described as "incredibly favourable".[1] And plans for a ballpark and surrounding district, to be constructed on a 100-acre patch of shovel-ready land, have been released. 

In April 2023, Starks laid out Big League Utah's pitch in an article on ESPN: "We believe that as a top-30 media market in the fastest-growing state in the country with the youngest population, [Major League Baseball is] where our attention should be."[2] The area's youth is clearly an asset at a time when MLB is trying to appeal to a younger audience and that the state in which it is located has a booming population will no doubt be beneficial to its chances, although the more immediate Salt Lake area only grew the 10th fastest of the 14 expansion contenders between 2011 and 2021. The City also has a strong economy, with a median household income that would rank 11th in MLB today, which will likely be seen as a good omen for healthy ticket and merchandise sales. Being based on the west coast is also an advantage - while unlikely to be a deciding factor, it is widely expected that MLB will want to expand to at least one west coast city.

The data also shows that Salt Lake City has a relatively small metropolitan area compared to its fellow contenders, a mediocre TV market, a lack of corporate presence and not particularly impressive minor league attendance. But the city has potential as a growth market and the Big League Utah consortium has plenty of sports ownership experience, including as the owners of the existing baseball team in the market. They will hope that will be a winning combination.





 

MARKET RANKS

AMONG EXPANSION CONTENDERS

TV Market Size
Metro Area Size
Median Household Income
Fortune 1000-equivalent Businesses
Median Age
Minor League Attendance
9/12
12/14
5/14
t=10/14
1/14
8/10

AMONG EXISTING MLB CITIES

TV Market
Metro Area Size
Median Household Income
Fortune 1000-equivalent Businesses
Median Age
22/26
27/27
11/27
26/27
1/27

BALLPARK RENDERINGS

Salt Lake City stadium rendering
Salt Lake City stadium rendering

Source: KSL Sports, renderings produced by Big League Utah. Baseball Expansion claims no copyright or credit for these images.

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