Utah economy

Utah ‘would be finished’ by bringing NFL team to declare, says Cox

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – Utah Jazz super fan Governor Spencer J. Cox is also supportive of the arrival of another professional sports franchise in the state.

Speaking to reporters at his monthly press conference, Cox was asked if he would support a National Football League team in Beehive State, to which he basically replied: “I keep going. “.

“I don’t know if there is a limit to what I would do to get an NFL team here in the state of Utah,” the governor and sports fan said, adding his office was already working with the recently moved Las. Vegas Raiders on building their fan base in the state.

“If there was an opportunity for an NFL franchise here in the state of Utah, we’d be ready for anything,” Cox said. “We are ‘the state of sport’. “

Cox’s prompting on any potential interest he might have in wooing the NFL in Utah was undoubtedly linked to reports that the 32-team league is considering a 40-team balloon expansion. Pro Football Focus, one of the most beloved football analysis publications, gave weight to such reports in a social media post earlier this week that posed a question to its followers, including Salt Lake City. in a group of possible locations to place a team.

While Cox confirmed that the state would exchange any NFL interest in entering the region, his remarks also highlighted the challenges that would be inherent in a multibillion-dollar project.

“We know how good sports can be for the economy, and we would be very supportive of an NFL franchise, does that mean we would provide incentives to build a stadium as well?” It’s a good question. And ultimately, it is a decision that would be taken by state taxpayers through their elected officials, ”he added.

Cox’s words echo remarks made by Utah Athletic Commission Chairman and CEO Jeff Robbins when pursued the issue in October.

“The stadiums have evolved and the infrastructure and the cost of building the stadiums has become so expensive that somehow, if you look at most of the stadiums under construction, there is a pretty kind of public partnership. important that needs to be created, ”Robbins explained, citing the construction of the Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, which cost nearly $ 2 billion, of which $ 750 million came from public funds.

Draper Town leaders have expressed interest in creating some sort of on-land sports entertainment venue that will be vacant when the State Prison moves to Tooele in 2022. It’s easy to guess where the County of Salt Lake touches the booming silicon slopes. area might be the best possible place in the state to locate a brand new NFL stadium, a must for bringing a team to town.

While the discussion is an exciting one, Cox added on Thursday that securing public funding for a football stadium – or a baseball stadium, because he believes a Major League Baseball team is more likely than one. NFL club in Utah – is not at the top of its priority list. .

“I don’t like giving billionaires taxpayer money, I think that’s a mistake,” the governor said. “It’s one thing to provide additional funding for a stadium and I’m not going to go through all of that, we’ve already done a bit of it. But what you see some of these billionaires doing is taking people hostage to write them a check to help pay for a stadium. It’s just that it’s a terrible economy and it’s bad policy. “

There is a bit of research to back up Cox’s claims. The report over a month ago also cited a study by economics researchers at UC Berkeley which found that publicly funded stadiums have little impact on the level of life of a community versus spending in other areas such as education or housing.

Yet the state’s interest in more top-level sporting events has always been high. Utah loves the sport, as evidenced by the support not only of Jazz, but of Real Salt Lake, the Salt Lake Bees, and college track programs including Utah and BYU. The 2002 Winter Olympics were considered a huge success and the process to bring the world stage back to Utah is already underway.

The state truly lives up to its nickname, the State of Sport.

Cox, who is well known as a vocal jazz fan, knows this well.

“I’m going to tell you that we just had the chance to meet the IOC for the first time, the selection committee of the International Olympic Committee last week, we had wonderful discussions, and they recognize Utah, again a times, in our time hosting the The Olympics before were an amazing place where people really support the sport, ”Cox said, adding that the NBA All-Star Game in 2023 would also generate a lot of excitement in the years to come. to come.

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Mary Cashion

The author Mary Cashion