As Salt Lake City vies for an MLB expansion franchise, Utahns are divided on the prospect of using public funds to finance the construction of a new stadium.
A new poll from the Deseret News/Hinckley Institute of Politics found that 47% of Utah residents support tax dollars being used for the potential stadium, and 50% oppose it. The poll surveyed 798 registered Utah voters from May 22 to June 1.
Big League Utah, a group led by former Utah Jazz owner Gail Miller and the Larry H. Miller Company, announced plans in April to pursue an MLB expansion team. The group wants to build a stadium in Salt Lake City’s Power District. The project could reportedly cost up to $1.5 billion.
SLC’s mayor Erin Mendenhall, a Democrat, has shown support for MLB expansion, while Utah’s Republican Gov. Spencer Cox is committed to “doing everything possible” to make it happen.
“There have currently been no discussions about financing, but the governor has been clear that protecting taxpayers will always be at the forefront of these discussions,” a spokesperson for Cox told the Deseret News.
MLB commissioner Rob Manfred wants to expand baseball to 32 teams but has said the league won’t consider adding new franchises until stadium solutions are found for the Tampa Bay Rays and Oakland A’s—who are trying to move to Las Vegas. Other possible MLB expansion cities include Nashville, Montreal, Charlotte, and Portland.