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Orem Owlz reportedly moving to Pueblo, Colorado

Orem Owlz head coach Tom Kotchman talks to his team before their workout at Brent Brown Ballpark in Orem, Utah June 19, 2010. Keith Johnson, Deseret News
Orem Owlz head coach Tom Kotchman talks to his team before their workout at Brent Brown Ballpark in Orem, Utah June 19, 2010. Keith Johnson, Deseret News
Keith Johnson

A Minor League Baseball team that has been part of the Utah County community since 2001 will reportedly be on the move.

TV station KOAA News 5 in Pueblo, Colorado, first reported Monday that the Orem Owlz will move to Pueblo, while The Pueblo Chieftain reported that Owlz owner Jeff Katofsky and town officials will make an announcement at an 11 a.m. ceremony Wednesday at Runyon Sports Complex.

The Owlz, a rookie league affiliate of the Los Angeles Angels, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Neither report indicates exactly when the move would take place.

The organization has been in Utah County since 2001, when the Provo Angels first joined the Pioneer League. After four years of playing at BYU’s Larry H. Miller Field, the Angels moved to UVU’s baseball stadium — now called UCCU Ballpark — and were renamed the Orem Owlz.

The Owlz, who have always been an affiliate with the major league Angels organization, play in the Pioneer League’s South Division along with the Ogden Raptors.

The Pueblo Chieftain reported that Katofsky has been in extended contact with Pueblo County, talks that included bringing his team to Colorado and the county building a stadium in downtown Pueblo. Katofsky also told the newspaper in April that his team's lease in Utah will be up in five years, according to the Chieftain, and that he's talked to numerous states about moving his team.

The Pueblo City Council unanimously approved a plan last week to pursue bringing a minor league team to the city, KOAA reported.

According to Pioneer League attendance statistics, the Owlz have averaged just over 1,500 fans per game during home contests the past two seasons, the third-lowest attendance figure in the Pioneer League in both 2016 and 2017.

The team had its highest attendance numbers in Orem in 2007 (2,872) and 2008 (2,927) while averaging more than 2,200 fans per game every year from 2011-15, though those numbers were on a decline.

The Owlz organization has won five Pioneer League championships, with its last one coming in 2016. Orem has also captured eight division titles.

The Owlz opened their 2018 season last Friday with a four-game series at Grand Junction and are 1-3 on the year. Orem plays two games at Ogden beginning Tuesday before its home opener against the Raptors on Thursday at UCCU Ballpark.