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  • Writer's pictureLloyd Brown

Vivint Smart Home Arena – Utah Jazz

Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 4.43

Vivint Smart Home Arena 301 West South Temple Salt Lake City, UT 84101

Year Opened: 1991

Capacity: 19,991


Jazz Central

Some of the best Jazz to be experienced in the Salt Lake City area is not found in an intimate night club, but in an 18,300-seat sports arena found only a few blocks from Temple Square. The Vivint Home Smart Arena (formerly the Delta Center and the Energy Solutions Arena) has served as the home of the Utah Jazz since 1991. Vivint became the title sponsor for the arena in 2015. As you would expect, the arena has undergone frequent renovations during its more than 25 years of existence. These occurred in 2002 (to prepare it for the Winter Olympic Games), 2010 and 2016. The renovations that began in 2016 have really changed the arena appearance and fan experience, at a cost of more than $125 million.

Food & Beverage 5

One of the targets of the 2017 renovation was to upgrade the concessions package within the arena. In order to accomplish this Vivint recruited some of Utah’s most popular restaurants to set up shop in the facility. These include R&R Barbeque, Maxwell’s (pizza and cheesesteaks), Cubby’s (Italian beef sandwiches), Chubasco (Mexican dishes), Hires Big H (root beer and hamburgers), J. Dawgs (designer hot dogs), Farr’s Fresh (ice cream) and Ice Berg Drive Inn (fast food with a 50’s theme). These additions have been overwhelmingly popular with the fans. Vivint Arena still maintains the more generic stands serving standard arena food at multiple locations. Their menus include pork sandwiches ($10), hot dogs ($7.50), popcorn ($7), candy ($4.25), Pepsi brand sodas ($5), bottled water ($5) and domestic beers in a can ($8).

Atmosphere 4

The upgrades to the arena are readily apparent when you arrive at the venue. A 12,000 square foot atrium has been added that includes the box office, club entrance and the Jazz Team Store. It is topped by a 76-foot ribbon board that is constantly updated with Jazz news and other information from around the NBA. This offers fans a much larger space away from the cold Utah winters to meet and socialize with friends. The second obvious improvement lies in opening the concourses to provide a great view of the action no matter where you are in the arena. The creature comforts for the fans continue into the seating bowl, where new fully upholstered plush backs and contour foam seats that are 20 inches wide have been installed. The open concourses and upgraded seats are found at all six levels of the arena. The graphics package inside the arena is excellent. In addition to a new HD scoreboard, there are four video boards at each corner of the arena. An additional set of graphics boards show statistics throughout the game. A ribbon board extends 360 degrees at multiple levels within the seating bowl. The Jazz have a wide variety of color schemes for both their uniforms and the court. These include the purple, navy and gold colors that were carried over from the team’s New Orleans days to a red and burnt orange package that accentuates the western heritage of the franchise.

Neighborhood 4

Vivint Smart Home Arena anchors one end of downtown Salt Lake City. It is close to most of SLC’s major attractions, as both the State Capitol and Temple Square, the home of the Mormon faith, are within a few blocks of the arena. The Great Salt Lake is located about 10 miles from the downtown area and is well worth a visit. City Creek Center provides more than 100 different stores and is one light rail stop from the arena. Main Street offers the widest selection of dining options in the area. Some of the more popular restaurants in the area are the Tin Angel Café and Bruges Waffles and Frites. Even though the Mormon religion does not allow the drinking of alcohol, it is widely available to visitors. Some of the more popular watering holes near the arena include The Beerhive Pub (Utah is known as the Beehive State), the Red Rock Brewery and the Wasatch Brewery. Salt Lake City is also a great place to kickoff a ski vacation, as both Snowbird and Park City Ski areas are located nearby. Several National Parks (Zion, Arches and Canyonland) are within a 4-hour drive of Salt Lake City.

Fans 5

The Utah Jazz are the largest major league sports team in Salt Lake City and they have one of the most loyal fan bases in the NBA. The team has always performed well on the court, with John Stockton and Karl Malone both going onto the Hall of Fame after their playing days were over. The management/ownership of the team has been very stable over the years and has a record of putting the fans first in every way. The team offers giveaways at nearly every game, provides a free yearbook to everyone in attendance and has some type of entertainment or competition during each break in the action. The Salt Lake City area is one of the smallest markets in the NBA, so the players are very involved in the community and several have their own charitable foundations to support causes in the SLC area. A key member of the Jazz organization is the team mascot… simply known as The Bear. He performs skits, is an excellent dancer and he loves to get up and interact with the crowd.

Access 4

There are more than 10,000 parking spaces located within a two-block radius of the venue. The Vivint Home Smart Arena is also serviced by both the Blue and Green Lines of the UTA’s TRAX light rail system. Rides on the TRAX system are free within the downtown area. The access within the arena is excellent. There is a large lobby at the front of the arena that allows you to come inside, away from the cold wintry weather, before the doors officially open. The concourses are wide and well laid out, with the major concession areas offering seating at tables so you don’t have to balance your food on your lap back at your seat.

Return on Investment 4

Tickets to Jazz games are amongst the cheapest in the NBA, as they run between $10 – $60, depending where you sit. The concessions prices are expensive compared to other arenas. Parking costs around $20 at lots surrounding the arena or you can choose to take a TRAX train back to your lodging on a $6.80 day pass, which allows unlimited rides throughout the system for that day (downtown ride zone is free).

Extras 5

There are two places on the plaza outside of the arena to get a pair of great selfies. The first is a pair of statues featuring Jazz icons Karl Malone and John Stockton, who led the team in scoring and assists in their long careers together. The second feature is a 14-foot high navy, green and gold J-note (a sculptural version of the Jazz logo) which is positioned just outside the main entrance. During the 2002 Winter Olympic Games the arena was known as the Salt Lake Ice Center and it hosted the figure skating events and the short track speed skating competition. Over the years the arena has hosted the men’s WAC basketball tournament, the 1993 NBA All Star Game both the Sweet Sixteen and the Elite Eight rounds of the NCAA Basketball Tournament and the Jazz’s home games during both the 1997 and 1998 NBA Finals. The arena’s PA Announcer, Dave Roberts, has been with the facility since it opened in 1991. To reduce operating expenses, more than 2,500 solar panels have been mounted on the roof of the arena.

Final Thoughts

The Utah Jazz are living proof that a small market can be competitive in the NBA. Through stable ownership that always puts their fans first, the franchise has been one of the most successful both on and off the court. The recent renovation of the Vivint Smart Home Arena has created an even tighter bond between the fans and their team. Some of Salt Lake City’s top restaurants now have a space within the venue and a fan friendly entrance atrium has been added to get the fans in out of the often-wintry weather long before the doors officially open. The seats are wider than is found in most arenas, adding additional comfort for the fans.

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