Utah Jazz, Miller family to enhance sights, sounds at arena
The kiss cam is about to get a whole lot more intimate.
The Utah Jazz on Monday unveiled plans for an upgraded audio and video system at EnergySolutions Arena, including upgraded high-definition screens above center court, LED (light-emitting diode) rings around the top of the lower bowl and auxiliary screens in the corners of the arena.
The screens over center court are 10 times larger on the sides than the current scoreboard, which was installed in 2001.
The cosmetic update is the most visible component of $15 million in renovations to the 22-year-old arena and, team executives said, will significantly enhance the fan experience at the multipurpose venue, which hosts 1.2 million people annually.
"We know that those 1.2 million guests are going to come and have the kind of experience that can't be found anywhere else," said Jim Olson, senior vice president for sales and marketing.
The Jazz partnered with Utah-based Yesco, which has built signs including the video board at the Wynn Resort in Las Vegas, as well as video screens in college arenas, including the Spectrum at Utah State University.
Yesco executives Jeff and Mike Young said the project is the company's largest ever in Utah larger than the iconic rings of the 2002 Winter Olympics and will be accomplished by a team of more than 100 local workers. All of the video components are expected to be installed before the start of the NBA exhibition season in mid-October.
"This is the best sign system display technology in the world," Jeff Young said, "and we are overjoyed to be partners with the Miller family to make this dream come true."
Three days after promising a "major facility announcement," Steve Miller, president of Miller Sports Properties, which operates the Jazz, revealed the plans for the overhaul, but said any other upgrades to the NBA's seventh-oldest arena are five to 15 years down the road.
"This is going to give us enough runway to get into the future," Miller said.
"EnergySolutions Arena is going to be where the Jazz play basketball and any enhancements that we make are to that end."
The upgrades announced Monday represent some of the most significant since the arena opened in 1991 as the Delta Center. In 2006, EnergySolutions bought the naming rights to the venue.
The screens above center court will measure 42 feet long and 24 feet high on the sides, and 26-by-17 on the ends facing each baseline. Screens on the soon-to-be former scoreboard were 10-by-10.
Jazz President Randy Rigby said the No. 1 complaint of fans had been low-quality video.
"These kind of moves tell people this team is very serious ... really giving people the experience," he said.
Executives spent the past year trying to strike the right balance in overhauling the off-court product, including traveling to other arenas. The Houston Rockets and the Indiana Pacers, for example, have the largest video screens in the NBA, but Rigby said it was not the Jazz's aim to simply be the biggest.
"We have such a great facility here," Rigby said, "we wanted to make sure the dimensions actually complement the game and not overpower it. I think the team has done a remarkable job of doing that very thing."
Rigby lauded the fiscally conservative Miller family, which owns the Jazz, for opening the checkbook for the project, a trend in the past year that has included ramping up international scouting and more recently bringing in more players for pre-draft and free agent workouts.
"This is the type of announcement that we rarely make because of the investment that it takes the financial investment," Miller said. "But this is something that we're willing to do because of what it means to the fan experience and for the franchise overall."
EnergySolutions Arena upgrades
• The Jazz will install center-court video screens that on the sides will be 10-times larger than the 12-year old scoreboard.
• In addition to video boards throughout the arena, the franchise is also upgrading the building's audio system.
• The audio/video upgrades are part of a $15 million renovation package, which will include new kitchens on suite levels.