But he believes that Utah’s chances of landing in Major League Baseball one day are “probably a little higher”.
With reports surfacing this week that the NFL is considering the possibility of significant expansion, Utah Governor Spencer Cox expressed an interest in bringing professional football to Salt Lake City one day.
“I don’t know if there is a limit to how hard I would try to get an NFL team in the state of Utah,” Cox said at his monthly press conference Thursday. “… If there was an NFL franchise opportunity here in Utah, we’d get through it all.”
But even amid reports that the NFL could add up to eight new teams in the coming years and expand the league to 40 franchises in total, Cox acknowledged that Utah’s chances of winning a professional team were slim.
“I understand the NFL market,” he said. “Utah is a fast growing market, but it would still be on the very small end of a potential NFL franchise.”
Instead, Cox said Utah officials were working to create links with the Las Vegas Raiders.
“We worked closely with the Raiders to help them expand and do more with Utah,” he said. “There’s a natural connection there.”
The governor also said he believes Utah’s chances of being home to a Major League Baseball team one day are “likely to be slightly higher at some point than an NFL franchise.”
“We are keeping an eye on this and will continue to monitor and learn more about the process of any potential expansion,” he said.
When asked if he supports incentives to attract a professional sports franchise to Utah, Cox said, “Ultimately, this is a decision that would be made by state taxpayers through their elected officials.”
“I don’t like giving taxpayers to billionaires. I think that’s a mistake, ”he said.
Cox said he had helped fund stadiums through tax increases and could potentially help provide land for stadium grounds.
“But you see some of these billionaires holding people hostage to write a check for a stadium. It’s a terrible economy, it’s bad politics, and it’s bad for the people. I don’t support that, ”he said. “… I don’t endorse where I’ve seen people threatening to switch teams if you don’t build us a billion dollar stadium. This is crazy and any billionaire who asks about it should be ashamed. “