SALT LAKE CITY — A Utah Jazz home playoff game infuses millions of dollars into the local economy and also benefits the state’s tourism industry, officials tell KSL.
“We couldn’t have better ambassadors than the Jazz,” said Vicki Varela, director of the Utah Office of Tourism. “Between the cityscapes on TV, the uniforms and the floor, it just tells the Utah story in the most elegant way.”
The crowds in downtown Salt Lake City boost short-term economics, while the national exposure lifts Utah’s long-term reputation, Varela said. The state receives free advertising from the image of Arches National Park’s iconic Delicate Arch featured on the court.
“People understand that if you want to see spectacular red rock, you go to Southern Utah,” Varela said.
A single home-court NBA playoffs game creates an economic impact between $3 million to $5 million, according to estimates from the Utah Sports Commission. What’s more, the commission says Utah receives several million dollars more in media value.
Restaurants especially benefit from fans flocking to the downtown area.
“The better they do, the better we do,” said Mike Katsanevas with the Crown Burgers restaurant located near the arena. “So it’s a win-win on both sides.”
Katsanevas said regular season games also help keep cash registers ringing but that there’s something different about making it to the playoffs.
“When they hit the playoffs you can feel it’s a different kind of vibe,” Katsanevas said. “The people are more hyped up and you get a bigger crowd coming in.”
Officials with Salt Lake’s Downtown Alliance said the late tip-offs give game attendees plenty of time to eat at local restaurants.
“Whether it’s restaurants or bars or people that make a weekend of it and stay in a hotel downtown,” said Nick Como with the Downtown Alliance, “we know it’s a good thing when the Jazz are in the playoffs for our city.”