Which is it — THE Delta Center or Delta Center? Utah weighs in.

There’s been a debate among fans about what to call the arena where the Jazz play.

(Bethany Baker | The Salt Lake Tribune) Utah Jazz fans arrive at the Delta Center ahead of the game in Salt Lake City on Friday, Dec. 8, 2023.

What’s in a name? More specifically: What’s in a definite article?

Turns out, a lot.

The arena where the Utah Jazz play has gone through several name changes over the decades. Its original name turned into Energy Solutions Arena, which became Vivint Arena, and then went back to Delta Center last year.

But since the arena’s return to its famed name from the 1990s, there’s been debate among fans about whether to call it “Delta Center” or “the Delta Center.”

“Unless there is a good explanation given why they wanted to drop the ‘The,’ which there hasn’t been, no one is going to say just ‘Delta Center,’” Jazz fan Jake Penrod said. “It’s so much more awkward, and doesn’t work as well with how normal people actually talk.”

But the Jazz say there’s never been a “the” to drop.

“It’s not an opinion or a preference or anything up for debate,” a team spokesperson said in a statement. “The name of the arena is Delta Center — there is no ‘the’ in front of the name, similar to almost every other arena name across the country and how the naming convention of our arena has been since the start.”

The Jazz opened their home arena in 1991. It had its original name through 2005, when Delta Airlines filed for bankruptcy and subsequently didn’t renew its naming rights contract with the team.

But even in the days of Energy Solutions and Vivint, many fans still called it the Delta Center

That preference hasn’t changed. Most fans seem to prefer calling it “the Delta Center,” and several fans who contacted The Salt Lake Tribune said it’s because that’s how broadcasters referred to it back in the ′90s. Others said using “the” just sounded more correct than the alternative.

“To me, using the ‘the’ feels the most grammatically correct and also just sounds the best,” Jazz fan Mike Miller said. “That should matter.”

Jed Wangsgard said the arena’s name “sounds naked and unnatural without the definite article,” and he “cringes” when he hears play-by-play announcer Craig Bolerjack say Delta Center “wrong.”

In posts on X, Bolerjack almost always refers to the arena as Delta Center. But in November, he posted with a “the” in front of it. One eagle-eyed fan noticed and replied and said he’d used the “forbidden ‘the.’”

But it’s likely fans won’t give up their stance. Even state lawmakers have chimed on the debate.

During a presentation of a joint resolution voicing support for an NHL team in Utah, Sen. Daniel McCay said people who look at Salt Lake City as a “sleeper market” for pro sports have “never been to or inside the Delta Center.”

“Make it clear,” McCay emphasized to the room with Jazz owner Ryan Smith in attendance. “It’s the Delta Center.”

In November, Gov. Spencer Cox ran a poll on X asking his followers if used “the” in front of Delta Center or not. Nearly 96% percent responded in favor of “the.”

What fans call the arena could be a situation of agreeing to disagree.

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