As we continue our blog series on Salt Lake City, our focus on the hallmarks of downtown continues to take us westward to another hub for activity: the Vivint Smart Home Arena, better known as the Vivint Arena.
Ask a local Salt Laker, though, and they might still refer to it as the Delta Center, the original namesake of the facility when it was opened in 1991, and had the naming rights from Salt Lake City’s biggest airline, Delta Airlines. The Atlanta-based carrier operates 256 daily departures from SLC to destinations around the world, so it was only fitting that the company have a 20,000 seat arena with their name affixed to the exterior. Images of the Delta Center swirled around the world in the wake of the infamous Salt Lake tornado in 1999, but as with every other facility in the downtown core, it was quickly cleaned up and ready for use.
The Vivint Arena has been home to the following events over its lifetime so far: an NBA All-Star Weekend, NBA Finals, NCAA Tournaments, a round of the U.S. Figure Skating Championships, and skating events from the 2002 Olympic Winter Games, hosted in Salt Lake City. Other big names have graced the Arena in its use as a concert venue, including Garth Brooks, George Strait, Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber, Nick Jonas, Demi Lovato, U2, Taylor Swift, and The Rolling Stones, with comedy routines by Gabriel Iglesias, Jeff Dunham, and Brian Regan. It has also been home to rodeos, monster truck shows, hockey, and professional wrestling.
Nowadays, though, the Vivint Arena is primarily known for being the home of the Utah Jazz, Salt Lake City’s NBA team. Currently led by Gordon Hayward and Rudy Gobert, the team of John Stockton and Karl Malone has its origins in New Orleans, Louisiana. The Jazz was started in 1974 as an expansion team, but relocated to Salt Lake City five years later, bringing the name and Mardi Gras colors in tow which continues to tie the franchise back to its founding city.
While the success of the Jazz has ebbed and flowed since their move to Salt Lake City, they have been a continual presence at the Vivint Arena since moving from the Salt Palace Convention Center in 1991. A lot in Salt Lake City revolves around what happens at the arena, too, outside of basketball and concerts.
After the facility was initially constructed, the Utah Transit Authority‘s TRAX light rail system’s first phase consisted of its northern terminus immediately next to the Delta Center. With wide platforms and decoration for the upcoming 2002 Winter Olympics, the Delta Center station served as a major hub for commuters in and out of downtown Salt Lake City. However, when the naming rights to the building were changed from Delta Airlines to the local nuclear waste-disposal company Energy Solutions, not only was there some community backlash, but the UTA changed the name of the station from “Delta Center” to “Arena.” It has stayed this way ever since. While it is no longer a UTA TRAX terminus station, Arena still serves as the primary public transportation access point to the Vivint Arena, Gateway Mall, and Triad Center, as well as a transfer point between the TRAX Blue and Green lines.
As the Vivint Arena begins to undergo major renovations to bring it up to date with comparable facilites around the United States, we at VIP Limousine wanted to take a moment and recognize what the building has done for Salt Lake City. Not only is it a location where we pick up and drop off concert-goers and basketball fans, but it is also a centerpiece to our home. If you ever need a ride in order to avoid the hassle of traffic and parking at Vivint Arena, we are available and at your service.