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Utah Jazz arena announcement expected this afternoon

Published June 17, 2013 9:06 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

The Utah Jazz today will make a "major facility announcement," and are expected to unveil plans to update EnergySolutions Arena.

A news conference is scheduled for this afternoon at the arena.

The downtown arena seats 19,911 but has been has surpassed by newer, flashier arenas with more premium amenities since its construction in 1991. In recent years, the Jazz have made minor improvements, such as adding restaurants and clubs. However, by NBA standards the arena boasts relatively few suites (50) and even less luxury seating near the court.

Jazz president Randy Rigby told The Salt Lake Tribune earlier this year that plans for an ambitious arena upgrade had to be scaled back to fit within the organization's budget. In October, Rigby said the Jazz were finalizing plans for a new video screen.

"We're looking at major improvements over the next five or six years," he said at the team's preseason media day, "continuing to build up our facilities to be a top-quality NBA property."

Last season, the Houston Rockets installed a 58-foot-wide video screen. Memphis Grizzlies owner Robert Pera said earlier this year that FedEx Forum would soon install wireless Internet for fans.

Among the other 29 NBA arenas, only six are older than EnergySolutions, including legendary Madison Square Garden, which recently underwent a major renovation. The Milwaukee Bucks, Golden State Warriors, Minnesota Timberwolves, Detroit Pistons and Sacramento Kings all play in older buildings, although Sacramento is expected to build a new downtown arena after a local group of investors triumphed in the fight to keep the team from moving to Seattle.

Originally called the Delta Center and renamed EnergySolutions Arena in 2006, the building opened before the 1991-92 season, replacing the Salt Palace as the home of the Jazz. It hosted the 1993 All-Star Game as well as NBA Finals in 1997 and 1998. It was the site for figure skating — including a major judging scandal — and short track speed skating at the 2002 Winter Olympics.

EnergySolutions Arena is also home to the Utah Blaze of the Arena Football League.

boram@sltrib.com