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Utah could potentially land an NFL team, but Cox says taxpayers shouldn't pay for it

Posted at 12:41 PM, Nov 18, 2021

SALT LAKE CITY — With talk about the National Football League potentially expanding, Governor Spencer Cox did not appear to be surprised to be asked about bringing a franchise to Utah.

"I don't know if there's a limit on how hard I would push to get an NFL team in the state of Utah," the governor said Thursday.

Recent reports claim the NFL is looking to expand, and Salt Lake City has been floated as a potential market for a team.

Cox noted Utah is a fast-growing market (but would still be on the small-end of a potential franchise) and if the opportunity presented itself, the governor said "we would be all over that."

"We are the state of sport," he told reporters, referencing the Olympics.

But when FOX 13 asked if that meant the state would provide incentives for a new stadium, the governor soured on it.

"I don't like giving billionaires money from taxpayers. I think that's a mistake," he said. "It's one thing to provide some tax increment funding for a stadium... but what you see some of these billionaires doing, holding people hostage to write them a check to pay for a stadium. It's terrible economics, it's bad politics, it's bad for the people, I don't support that."

The governor pointed out the odds were greater Utah would land a Major League Baseball team before an NFL team.

In 2016, FOX 13 looked at the pros and cons of an NFL franchise in Utah. Among the problems? Sunday games, no major corporate franchise sponsors here and the cost of a stadium and who pays for it.