Weekly Run newsletter: Utah Jazz have ‘the most baller place to watch an NBA game,’ according to GQ

Leah Hogsten | The Salt Lake Tribune Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell (45) drenches Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert (27) after the game. The Utah Jazz defeated the Atlanta Hawks, 128-112 at Vivint Smart Home Arena, Feb. 1, 2019.

The Weekly Run is The Salt Lake Tribune’s weekly newsletter on all things Utah Jazz. Subscribe here.

Who knew the Utah Jazz were so posh?

The team got a recent write-up in GQ that, not surprisingly given the medium, did not focus one iota on defensive rating or Rudy Gobert’s recent All-Star snub, or Donovan Mitchell’s offensive efficiency.

Instead, the premise of the story was: "America’s single coolest luxury suite happens to be in an NBA arena in…[double-checks notes]…Salt Lake City? … I’m not alone in this assessment, either. NBA commissioner Adam Silver told me this suite is ‘as cool as anything I’ve seen anywhere.’”

Vivint Smart Home Arena’s recent $125 million makeover included the installation of four so-called “bunker suites,” which are under the stands, rather than a typical box installed over them. The bunker suites at VSHA are full of modern architecture, a TV wall with nine OLED screens, and a “candy buffet,” among other accoutrements, all of which apparently add up to making these suites “the most baller place to watch an NBA game.”

You should check out the article for the pics alone, to say nothing of getting some details on a corner of The Viv that maybe not that many Jazz fans even knew existed.

Even if you’re not watching there, you’re still watching …

If you’re like me, you probably don’t have the means to be springing for a bunker suite at a Jazz game anytime soon.

And maybe the news earlier this year about the team’s plan to increase ticket prices for upper bowl seats has discouraged you from attending games at all.

But chances are, if you’re reading this, you’re not not watching the Jazz.

Street & Smith’s Sports Business Journal recently noted that “regional sports network ratings from 28 U.S.-based [NBA] teams had dropped 10 percent on average at the All-Star break compared to the same point last year,” (info for Memphis and Toronto wasn’t immediately available), but the Jazz have proven a huge exception.

Jazz games on AT&T SportsNet Rocky Mountain actually are tied for the second-best average rating among the 28 teams, at 6.30 (they’re tied with the Thunder, while the Warriors lead the way with a 7.43 rating). That rating represents the third-biggest increase of any team over the past year, with the Jazz viewership on ATTSN up 58 percent. (The Nuggets are No. 1 with an 85-percent increase, while the Mavericks are up 74 percent.)

One rating point equals 1 percent of the homes in a market (and the “SLC” market technically includes 935,810 homes in all of Utah, and parts of Idaho, Wyoming, and Arizona, according to The Nielsen Company) — so the Jazz’s 6.3 average rating means 6.3 percent of the homes in that area are tuned to a game (which equates to about 59,000 homes on average).

Jazz president Steve Starks took to Twitter to shout-out fans for their support, writing, in part, “Thank you for loving this team!”

All-Star Weekend recap

The Tribune sent the intrepid Andy B. Larsen to Charlotte, N.C., to write about all the All-Star goings-on, and in true BLarsen fashion, his coverage did not disappoint.

Andy both previewed and, of course, reviewed Donovan Mitchell’s participation in the Rising Stars Challenge. He put together a wide-ranging notebook that covered such topics as the respective Hall of Fame candidacies of Utah basketball luminaries Mark Eaton and Ron Boone; Donovan attending Dwyane Wade’s “One Last Dance” dinner and getting to rub elbows with some NBA greats; plus the NBA’s Technology Summit, which was highlighted by “smart jerseys” which can “change the name and number displayed on the fabric at the touch of a button.”

Andy also earned the Twitter ire of a certain segment of NBA fandom by meeting with NBA referees, and then writing a column about how he’s sufficiently impressed by their efforts to get better that he’s going to cut them some slack.

Meanwhile, just to make sure we got our money’s worth out of him, Andy also wrote about … [deep breath] … commissioner Adam Silver weighing in on public trade demands, among other things … Donovan participating in the Slam Dunk Contest — as an announcer … the email from a fan that led to Dirk and Dwyane’s special final All-Star appearance … aaaaaaaaand, oh yeah, there was the actual All-Star Game itself, won by Team LeBron.

A few other Tribune things

Right before the All-Star break, I took a look ahead at what the Jazz’s focus will be heading into their final 25 games of the regular season. Columnist Gordon Monson, extrapolating from that, just wrote about how expects yet another strong finish this season from the team.

The other big news of last week was Joe and Renae Ingles publicly revealing that their son Jacob was diagnosed with autism. Gordon shared some thoughts about that situation, as well.

A few other other things

Hey, we know you want to know EVERYTHING going on with the Jazz, and we’re secure enough to share it with you even if it didn’t come from us. So here’s a few other things we found:

• James Hansen of SLCDunk.com says that with Dante Exum due to return soon from a sprained ankle, inserting the Aussie point guard into the starting lineup would give the Jazz a needed jolt.

• Ryan McDonald of the Deseret News sizes up how the Western Conference playoff race is likely to shake out, and what that means for the Jazz.

• The Jazz themselves complied a cool photo gallery of Donovan’s All-Star Weekend experience.

• If you’re the type of person who wonders why players settle on certain uniform numbers, Mike Sorenson of the D-News asked some Jazz players how they chose theirs.

• Former Trib writer turned 1280 AM radio personality Patrick Kinahan wrote a guest column for KSL.com saying the time is now for the Jazz to have some say in their playoff fate.

• Another former Trib writer, Tony Jones, penned a piece for The Athletic about how Rudy Gobert will be using his All-Star Snub as motivation for the future (though he was gonna work hard anyway). Meanwhile, in The Athletic’s latest power rankings, written by Zach Harper, the Jazz check in at No. 11 yet again. (For the record, content from The Athletic requires either a free trial sign-up or a subscription. Just so you know.)

Up next

The All-Star break is finally over, and so the Jazz return to practice on Wednesday at the Zions Bank Basketball Center. Then they’ll be flying out to Oklahoma City on Thursday for Friday’s matchup with the Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena. They’ll be heading back to SLC right after the game, as they’re hosting the Dallas Mavericks on Saturday night at The Viv.