Sunday, February 02, 2014

Can Utah support an NFL franchise?

As the Broncos prepare to battle the Seahawkes in Super Bowl XLVIII, I noticed how much Broncos paraphernalia started appearing.  Logo emblazoned jackets, decals and jerseys were becoming frequent sights, but this was not fair weather fandom.  The Broncos items I had been seeing were not fresh, but care-worn.  These were long time fans striking their colors and I was just becoming more aware of it because of the media hype.  It made sense really.  I think that the Denver Broncos serve as the hometown team for most of the intermountain west.  NFL fans in Salt Lake City would naturally identify closely with Colorado's franchise.  So this brought an issue to the surface and I decided to ask a question, mostly to my friends and followers, but also to the internet at-large:
Can Utah support an NFL franchise? 
Yes, fans will turn out
No, culture clash man
Yes, but we shouldn't try
You see, I believe an NFL franchise could and, if possible, should be pursued.  Many people might immediately dismiss the question based on the fact that the dominant religious population promotes abstaining from business on Sundays.  This would be factor, no doubt, and I would be among those who would not attend a game on Sunday, but even with that major deterrent, I must acknowledge that there are not only many who do not share these religious views, but even among the faithful, fans are watching at home on TV. Beyond that, there are more and more games being played on Monday, Thursday and other nights that would entice those who reserve Sunday for worship.

The potential economic benefits would be hard to ignore.  The boost to local employment, wholesalers and retailers, restaurants and clubs as well as tourism would be of enormous benefit. The impact could go beyond connections to the franchise it's self.  For example, a purpose built football stadium would almost be a necessity in the Salt Lake City area.  Such a venue could make Utah's bid to bring the Winter Olympics back to the state more tempting.   Furthermore, the notoriety of having another major sports franchise and it's accompanying arena would keep Utah in the forefront of options for visiting conventions and festivals.

When I weigh the considerations within my point of view, I think that an NFL franchise in Utah could be a remarkable thing for the state.  In the end, I will continue to hope that the League develops expansion plans, or that another city will separate themselves from an existing franchise.

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