Utah Jazz, airline renames Salt Lake Arena July 2023

Vivint Arena will be officially renamed on July 1.

(Photo courtesy of Utah Jazz) The Utah Jazz announced Saturday, January 14, 2023 that the arena will once again be named Delta Center with a new agreement with Delta Air Lines.

Many residents never referred to the Salt Lake City arena in downtown Salt Lake City as the Delta Center, even though the building officially changed its name back in 2006.

Soon they will be right again.

The Utah Jazz announced Saturday that they have entered into a long-term naming deal with Delta Air Lines, the Atlanta-based airline with a hub at Salt Lake City International Airport. The arena will continue to be called Vivint Arena until July 1, when the switchover will officially take place.

Terms of the deal were not released, but Jazz owner Ryan Smith told The Salt Lake Tribune that the intention is to keep the Delta Center name for decades to come. Last week, The Tribune reported that Delta had signed a lease extension with Salt Lake City to keep the carrier’s hub in Utah until at least mid-2044, with an option for another 10 years after that. Sports business publication Sportico spoke to experts who estimate the deal at $6 million to $8 million a year.

“Our commitment to this community is clear. It is our fourth largest airport in the world; Delta Air Lines operates 250 flights a day and continues to grow,” said Ed Bastian, Delta CEO. “There are billions of dollars that we entrust to the city and the community, but something was always missing.”

From July 1, the Delta Center logo will be back on the outside of the building. The team’s Delta club on the ground floor of the stadium is also getting a facelift. One of the first events in the renamed arena will be the Salt Lake City Summer League later that week.

Saturday’s 1 p.m. press conference featured a number of big names: Bastian, Utah Governor Spencer Cox, Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall, and Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson were all in attendance. On the jazz side, Smith and his wife Ashley, former owner Gail Miller, head coach Will Hardy, CEO Danny Ainge and even former All-Stars Deron Williams, Mehmet Okur and Leonard “Truck” Robinson appeared.

(Gabby Stockard | Utah Jazz)

The arena was first named the Delta Center upon opening in 1991. Delta filed for bankruptcy in 2005, citing rising fuel costs and facing more low-cost competition, and did not renew its sponsorship deal with the team in 2006. The airline emerged from bankruptcy 19 months later.

“We went through a tough time after 9/11, the whole aviation industry did. We had to make some tough decisions to cut costs quickly. I was the one in the chair and made the decision to take the name off the arena, and 16 years later it still haunts me,” said Bastian. “It’s an honor to be back. They say coming home is sweet, 16 years later this is really special.”

In the meantime, the Jazz sold the naming rights to the stadium to EnergySolutions, a low-level nuclear waste processing company. Vivint Smart Home bought the naming rights to the stadium in 2015 for 10 years. (In 2020, the “Smart Home” portion of the arena name was dropped.)

Vivint’s deal was not expected to expire until 2025. However, concurrent with the Delta deal, Vivint agreed to a new sponsorship deal with the Smith Entertainment Group, the company that owns the Jazz and arena. Under the renegotiated deal, which runs through the 2030 season, Vivint retains the rights to his courtside suite, along with in-game promotions, ad packages, and digital ads placed on court during the team’s TV broadcasts.

“No company is a bigger fan of the Jazz organization than Vivint and we look forward to continuing our partnership,” Todd Santiago, Chief Revenue Officer of Vivint Smart Home, said in a statement.

“They’re jazz fans and everyone knows what this means,” said Smith. “I think this is probably the only naming deal where Vivint would work with us to do this.”

As for the deal with Delta, it came about after Smith and Bastian attended a game together in Atlanta in 2021.

“If there was ever an opportunity to do something that would rectify that, I would be very happy to consider it,” Bastian told Smith.

And Bastian wanted to keep Delta in Salt Lake City and the Delta Center name for the long haul. “This goes much deeper than just a name on a building or a sponsorship deal,” said Bastian. “There are real roots here and we want to continue to bring Utah to the world and the world to Utah. The fact that we’re coming back here and putting a great brand with 5,000 employees behind this – we’re never leaving.

Both Bastian and Smith know that rekindling the Delta Center name will bring nostalgia to Utahns.

“It’s not even the name, it’s the memories, like when I went into the arena with my grandfather as a kid,” said Smith. “I see Mehmet there and the other players from the past – if we say ‘Once a Jazzman, always a Jazzman’, this is your home.”

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