Utah Jazz to bid for upcoming NBA All-Star Game
By KAREEM COPELAND
Jan. 31, 2018
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The Utah Jazz plan to submit a proposal to host the NBA All-Star Game in either 2022 or 2023.
The decision comes on the heels of a $125 million renovation to Vivint Smart Home Arena that debuted at the beginning of this season. The 2023 game would be 30 years after the Jazz last hosted the All-Star game in 1993.
"We feel like we're in a great position to be able to be awarded that All-Star game," Jazz President Steve Starks said. "There's a story to tell about Salt Lake and the Jazz and what we have to offer that we think will be unique."
The franchise plans to submit a formal proposal in the next two to three weeks. Don Stirling, the executive vice president of the Jazz ownership group, is leading the project and has been working with NBA Deputy Commissioner Mark Tatum. A host committee has already been created that includes community leaders and politicians.
Los Angeles will host the 2018 game in February followed by Charlotte (2019), Chicago (2020) and Indianapolis (2021). There is a two-year bidding process and the Jazz would continue to push for the game beyond 2023 if Salt Lake City is not selected.
Starks believes the growth and development of Salt Lake City will play a major factor in the bid. Salt Lake City International Airport is currently undergoing a $3.6 billion renovation. There are sufficient hotel rooms and a public transportation rail system that continues to expand. The Salt Palace Convention Center, which would host a fan-fest type event, is a block away from the arena.
The city also has experience putting on big events, including the Winter Olympics in 2002.
"Compared to 30 years ago, our infrastructure is completely different," Starks said. "We knew with the renovation of the arena that would be a catalyst to get back in that conversation again. ... We just felt now would be the best time to tell our story."
The team hopes to leverage a partnership with Sundance Film Festival and possibly create a documentary around All-Star weekend and have a sports-related mini film festival. Starks also hopes to capitalize on a growing technology field in the state to put on a unique experience.
Nightlife and entertainment options are always a concern in Salt Lake City, but the organization believes that won't be an issue.
Stirling noted that All-Star weekend is when the NBA hosts all of its most important guests, from current and former players to owners, business partners and celebrities.
"One of the things that ranks very high in the judging is proximity and convenience," Stirling said. "When you land in Salt Lake, you're downtown in 8-10 minutes. The hotels surround the venues that we'll be using. When all is said and done, you have this great big world-wide event and proximity and convenience is really important. And we have that."