Utah Jazz, Vivint Arena staffs hit with layoffs

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SALT LAKE CITY — Just eight days before the Utah Jazz are set to return to Vivint Arena for a preseason game, the organization has been hit with layoffs.

The continuing coronavirus pandemic and a transition to new ownership have led to the "difficult decision" to eliminate some furloughed and active positions from the Jazz and Vivint Arena business operations, a Larry H. Miller Sports and Entertainment spokesman told KSL. The number of employees laid off was not announced.

The layoffs come, in part, "due to the prolonged economic impact from COVID-19" as well as a "streamlined restructuring associated with the transition to new ownership," Larry H. Miller Sports and Entertainment spokesman Frank Zang said.

Zang said the laid-off employees will continue to receive wages and health benefits through the end of the year. He also stated that outplacement services and severance packages will be available.

"We thank these individuals for their years of service and contributions to the organization," he said.

In November, Qualtrics co-founder and CEO Ryan Smith agreed to buy the Jazz for a reported $1.6 billion-plus.

The deal also includes Vivint Arena, the Salt Lake City Stars, as well as a management agreement with the Salt Lake Bees. Smith also agreed to purchase The Zone Sports Radio Network, the Jazz's flagship radio station, in a separate transaction. The deal is not yet official but is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

In April, also due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Larry H. Miller Group of Companies suffered layoffs throughout the organization — including the Sports and Entertainment division. A "small percentage" of the workforce was cut, which included former Zone radio host and Jazz and Salt Lake Bees emcee Tony Parks and former Zone producer Adrian Leiser.

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