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Utah Jazz will bid to host NBA All-Star Game in Salt Lake City

By Andy Larsen, | Posted - Jan. 31, 2018 at 12:00 p.m.

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SALT LAKE CITY — Thirty years after the entire NBA world came to Salt Lake City, the Utah Jazz will be inviting them back.

In the next three weeks, the Jazz and Vivint Arena will formally submit a bid to become the host of the NBA's annual All-Star Game and related festivities for the first time since 1993, has learned.

The NBA is accepting bids for the 2022 and 2023 events in February, after awarding the next four contests to Los Angeles, Charlotte, Chicago, and Indianapolis. The Jazz believe that, with all of the changes to Salt Lake City and Vivint Arena in recent years, they have a compelling presentation for the NBA commissioner's office to persuade them to host the event in Utah.

The Jazz's bid will also try to tie All-Star Weekend to the Sundance Film Festival, which traditionally takes place two or three weeks before the NBA's festivities. The Jazz envision a miniature version held in February, showing NBA documentaries and keeping some movie production crews in Salt Lake City to film the events.

"That's unique and could appeal to a large audience," Jazz president Steve Starks said.

There is a financial commitment and requirements to bidding for the All-Star Game, but the Jazz have that covered, they say. Bidding is a large scale effort that involves the governments of Salt Lake City and Utah, with both Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski and Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox involved.

Having the space to hold events in proximity is also a selling point for the Jazz. The Salt Palace Convention Center across 300 West would host the fan fest and other events for the NBA and its sponsors. The University of Utah could be home to basketball-related events beyond what would take place at Vivint Arena.

The downtown Salt Lake City district will have the number of hotel rooms necessary (about 6,000 four- or five-star rooms) to host the event, according to the Jazz. The Salt Lake City Airport expansion project will help bring people more easily into Utah's capital city.

The Jazz will also rely on the significant experience of the 2002 Winter Olympic games. Don Stirling, who was the local marketing chief for the Salt Lake Olympic Committee in 2002, is now the chief revenue officer for the Jazz and leading efforts on the bid.

"We'll have all of the most important guests coming in. Players, former players, owners, corporate partners," Stirling said. "One of the things that ranks very high in the judging is proximity and convenience. We have that, multiplied."

The 2023 NBA All-Star Game is the biggest target for the Jazz, as they like the symmetry of the game being played 30 years after the last time it was played in Salt Lake City, in 1993. Then, John Stockton and Karl Malone took home co-MVP of the contest.

But even if the Jazz weren't able to win the 2022 or 2023 contests, this initial bid will put them in the conversation to host the game in future years.

"We feel like we're in a great position to be awarded the All-Star Game," Starks said. "There's a story to tell about Salt Lake and the Jazz that we think will be unique."

Andy Larsen


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