How Does Rays Stadium Announcement Impact Big League Utah Plans?

Sep 19, 2023, 12:21 PM

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SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Another domino has fallen for Major League Baseball, moving Salt Lake and the Big League Utah group one step closer to bringing pro baseball to the state.

Considered one of two major steps before MLB officials can officially consider expanding to 32 teams, the Tampa Bay Rays announced plans to have a new ballpark in place by the 2027 season.

What Does this mean for the group aimed at bringing the major leagues to Salt Lake?

In the short term, news about the Rays and A’s home ballpark situations has no impact. What those resolutions do is allow MLB to shift its focus toward a previously stated desire to expand to 32 teams.

Assuming MLB commissioner Rob Manfred’s position hasn’t changed, his office could begin pursuing potential expansion teams in cities like Montreal, Nashville, Portland, and Salt Lake City. Manfred has previously stated that MLB would ideally add a team in the eastern U.S. and one in the western U.S.

RELATED: ‘I Don’t Think It’s Just PR’: Governor Cox On Efforts To Land MLB, NHL In Utah

Earlier this year, Gail Miller announced plans for the Larry H Miller Company to pursue bringing an MLB expansion franchise to the Beehive state. Calling Salt Lake a five-tool players, Miller and the Big League Utah coalition believe they have a great pitch when the time for expansion comes.

“If you think about the potential of Major League Baseball adding a team to the east and a team to the west and you look at the map and compare us to other markets, we stack up very favorably,” LHM Company CEO Steve Starks said earlier this year on KSL Sports Zone with Hans & Scotty G.

Tampa Bay Rays Announce Stadium Plan, Timeline

Rays leadership announced a deal has been reached for a new stadium to be built in St. Petersburg, FL.

The 30,000-seat domed stadium is expected to open for the beginning of the 2028 season and will cost more the $1.2 billion. Earlier this month, Rays owner Stuart Sternberg told the Tampa Bay Times that the organization expects to “pay for half or more” in regards to a new stadium.

RELATED: Oregonian Columnist Bill Oram Compares Big League Utah To Portland Group

Figuring out the Rays long-term future has been considered a necessity before considering expansion. Tampa Bay’s current lease at Tropicana Field is set to expire following the the 2027 season.

MLB Will Host November Vote On Oakland A’s Future

A ‘sell the team’ mantra has developed in Oakland as John Fisher dives headlong into his effort to move the franchise to Las Vegas.

Rumors of an MLB stadium on the Las Vegas strip have long been discussed but little of substance has been announced. Despite the protracted process, it appears a resolution to Oakland’s future home is on the horizon.

RELATED: Nostalgia Floods Utah Sports World With Bees Move, Delta Center Return 

After submitting a relocation application to the league in August, MLB owners are expected to vote on the move at the owners meetings in mid-November. Fisher and the A’s need 75 percent (23 votes) of owners to accept their proposal before they are allowed to relocate.

At the moment, the Fisher plans to construct a $1.5 billion ballpark on the corner of Las Vegas Boulevard and Tropicana Avenue, where the Tropicana resort is presently located.

Follow Big League Utah With KSL Sports Zone

Big League Utah is a broad-based community coalition that believes Utah is a five-tool player when it comes to the future of Major League Baseball expansion.

KSL Sports coverage of Big League Utah can be found here. 

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How Does Rays Stadium Announcement Impact Big League Utah Plans?