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Looking back at the history of Vivint Arena in celebration of its 25th birthday

Looking back at the history of Vivint Arena in celebration of its 25th birthday

(Photo Courtesy of Utah Jazz)



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SALT LAKE CITY — The Vivint Arena has been home to many memorable moments since it opened and Tuesday will mark 25 years since its official completion.

The building has been the host of everything from two NBA Finals, the Winter Olympics, the NCAA Tournament, a multitude of concerts, the circus, the Nitro Circus, an Ultimate Fighting Championship match and plenty more events.

Construction on the arena began on June 11, 1990 and concluded on Oct. 4, 1991. The building was dedicated five days later. Known originally as the Delta Center, the $66 million arena was designed by Larry H. and Gail Miller and ended up 20.6 million cubic feet in size.

In fact, according to the Utah Jazz, which the arena became home to, 500,000 concrete blocks, 21,000 square yards of carpet, 80,300 square feet of glass, 7.6 million pounds of rebar and three million pounds of structural steel were used in the construction process.

Construction on the arena began on June 11, 1990 and concluded on Oct. 4, 1991. (Photo Courtesy of Utah Jazz)
Construction on the arena began on June 11, 1990 and concluded on Oct. 4, 1991. (Photo Courtesy of Utah Jazz)
The Vivint Arena, which opened in 1991 as the Delta Center, is 20.6 million cubic feet in size (Photo Courtesy of Utah Jazz)
The Vivint Arena, which opened in 1991 as the Delta Center, is 20.6 million cubic feet in size (Photo Courtesy of Utah Jazz)
The Vivint Arena, which opened in 1991 as the Delta Center, is 20.6 million cubic feet in size (Photo Courtesy of Utah Jazz)
The Vivint Arena, which opened in 1991 as the Delta Center, is 20.6 million cubic feet in size (Photo Courtesy of Utah Jazz)
(Photo Courtesy of Utah Jazz)
(Photo Courtesy of Utah Jazz)
The Delta Center was completed on Oct. 4, 1991 and a dedication was held on Oct. 9, 1991. (Photo Courtesy of Utah Jazz)
The Delta Center was completed on Oct. 4, 1991 and a dedication was held on Oct. 9, 1991. (Photo Courtesy of Utah Jazz)
(Photo Courtesy of Utah Jazz)
(Photo Courtesy of Utah Jazz)

Though the home of the Jazz, the first ticket event at the arena actually was a hockey game between the Utah Golden Eagles, of the International Hockey League, and the Peoria Rivermen on Oct. 16, 1991.

The Jazz played their first game in the Delta Center on Oct. 23, 1991 and lost to the New York Knicks 101-95 in a preseason game. The next night, Oingo Boingo played the first ever concert in the arena’s history.

The Jazz wouldn’t pick up their first win in the building until Nov. 9, 1991 in a 101-84 regular season victory over the Los Angeles Clippers — two days after playing their first regular season game there against the Seattle Supersonics.

Since then, it’s hosted some of the biggest basketball games and other major sporting events over the past 25 years, as well as concerts, circuses and almost anything imaginable.

Workers ready the Delta Center for the NBA Finals on Monday June 1, 1998. (Photo: Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News, File)
Workers ready the Delta Center for the NBA Finals on Monday June 1, 1998. (Photo: Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News, File)
Balloons drop and fireworks shoot upward at the beginning of Game 1 of the NBA finals at the Delta Center on June 3, 1998. (Photo: Ravell Call, Deseret News, File)
Balloons drop and fireworks shoot upward at the beginning of Game 1 of the NBA finals at the Delta Center on June 3, 1998. (Photo: Ravell Call, Deseret News, File)
A crowd during women's figure skating at Delta Center. The arena hosted the 1999 World Figure Skating Championships and events for the 2002 Winter Olympics. (Photo: Utah Department of History)
A crowd during women's figure skating at Delta Center. The arena hosted the 1999 World Figure Skating Championships and events for the 2002 Winter Olympics. (Photo: Utah Department of History)
Grey Toy of Commercial Refrigeration based in Edmonton, Alberta works on a 110-foot luge run that will be set up for the public to test out in the Coco Cola "On The Ice" 20,000-square foot attraction set up for the Olympics near the Delta Center Thursday, January 24, 2002. (Photo by Jason Olson, Deseret News, File
Grey Toy of Commercial Refrigeration based in Edmonton, Alberta works on a 110-foot luge run that will be set up for the public to test out in the Coco Cola "On The Ice" 20,000-square foot attraction set up for the Olympics near the Delta Center Thursday, January 24, 2002. (Photo by Jason Olson, Deseret News, File
Tim McGraw performs at the Delta Center Friday, July 28, 2000 as part of his and his wife Faith Hill's Soul 2 Soul Tour 2000. (Photo by Jason Olson, Deseret News, File)
Tim McGraw performs at the Delta Center Friday, July 28, 2000 as part of his and his wife Faith Hill's Soul 2 Soul Tour 2000. (Photo by Jason Olson, Deseret News, File)
Trainers line the elephants up after the 138th Annual Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus Elephant Walk and Parade through The Gateway and back to the Energy Solutions Arena in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, September 24, 2008. (Photo: Courtney Sargent, Deseret News, File)
Trainers line the elephants up after the 138th Annual Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus Elephant Walk and Parade through The Gateway and back to the Energy Solutions Arena in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, September 24, 2008. (Photo: Courtney Sargent, Deseret News, File)

As for its impact in the community, in an article from the Deseret News on Nov. 6, 1991, city officials said they saw a future of the Delta Center, bringing growth to the northwest area of the city and signaling a shift in downtown pedestrian traffic. In 2001, The Gateway opened to the west of the arena — though the arena didn't shift downtown businesses closer to its premises as originally predicted.

Even as an indoor arena, the building was at the center of one of Utah’s more memorial natural disasters. A tornado touched down not too far from the arena on Aug. 11, 1999 and the arena was in its path.

The tornado tore pieces of the roof off and also created water damage in some of the arena’s suites. Initial damages were reported at around $5 million, according to an Associated Press article shortly after the storm.

A tornado damaged the Delta Center, Wyndham Hotel, and and a temporary exhibition hall of the Salt Palace in downtown Salt Lake City, Utah Wednesday, August 11, 1999. (Photo: Gary McKellar, Deseret News, File)
A tornado damaged the Delta Center, Wyndham Hotel, and and a temporary exhibition hall of the Salt Palace in downtown Salt Lake City, Utah Wednesday, August 11, 1999. (Photo: Gary McKellar, Deseret News, File)
The tornado swept through downtown Salt Lake City, Utah Wednesday, August 11, 1999 swept across the Delta Center (lower right), destroyed a Salt Palace temporary exhibition hall, then continued to the left to collapse a crane aththe LDS Church assembly hall construction site (center left). (Photo: Gary McKellar, Deseret News, File)
The tornado swept through downtown Salt Lake City, Utah Wednesday, August 11, 1999 swept across the Delta Center (lower right), destroyed a Salt Palace temporary exhibition hall, then continued to the left to collapse a crane aththe LDS Church assembly hall construction site (center left). (Photo: Gary McKellar, Deseret News, File)

Indeed, the arena has been a key part to Salt Lake’s moments over the past quarter century. It also has gone through plenty of changes since opening. On Nov. 20, 2006, it was renamed to EnergySolution Arena. It remained that until Oct. 27, 2015, when it became Vivint Smart Home Arena.

What will the future of the building be like? On Sept. 21, the Larry H. Miller Group released plans for major renovations.

Looking back at the history of Vivint Arena in celebration of its 25th birthday

The $125 million project is expected to conclude by October 2017. That project will include new seats, solar panels on the roof, a high-speed internet infrastructure and extended arena entrances, among other changes.

Carter Williams

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