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MONEYBALL: How Utah Jazz, Other Sporting Events Benefit State of Sport Economy

By September 29, 2021December 14th, 2021Sports events

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – In case you didn’t know, the world of professional sports involves a lot of money.

Lots and lots of money.

Not only do elite athletes generate a lot of income – for example, Utah Jazz stars Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell are expected to bring in nearly $ 63 million in combined salaries this season alone – the dough that makes a game. so glamorous NBA can sink. to the area around the arena and beyond.

The larger the stage, the greater the economic impact on the city and region where the team or event is located.

For Milwaukee, the Bucks’ run to the championship brought in a lot of money, with the city’s tourism department reporting a $ 57.6 million windfall to the local economy, thanks to the NBA Finals.

In Utah, Jazz’s home games are also a boon to the economy. According to Jeff Robbins, president and CEO of the Utah Athletic Commission, a study a few years ago estimated that every NBA game in Salt Lake City generated around $ 1 million.

“If you look at the vendors, the restaurants, the hotels, you look at some kind of city converging to Vivint Arena in that local area, obviously there is significant economic activity,” Robbins told

While putting income in the hands of business owners around the arena seems like a sort of obvious consequence of a sporting event, other impacts on a city or state are not as tangible, such as a jersey. Jordan Clarkson at $ 120 from the team store or a pre-game bite to eat at the nearby Crown Burger.

Getting the state of Utah on screens of all types – TV, computer, or mobile device – can also be incredibly valuable.

To that end, Robbins and the Athletic Commission believe they have a major opportunity next May to put southern Utah on the radar on a massive scale by hosting the 2022 Ironman World Championship in St. George.

Securing the event, which will be held for the first time outside of Kona, Hawaii, in the race’s 40-year history, was a major victory for the Hive State.

“In 2019, this had an economic impact of roughly $ 40 million and roughly 5 billion impressions, which is roughly $ 40 million in media value that you would have to pay if you wanted to promote Kona,” Robbins illustrates. .

Due to the cancellation of the Ironman World Championship in 2020 and 2021, the Sports Commission expects pent-up demand for his return to St. George to further increase media value, making the 2022 event a billboard. even bigger display for Utah. .

The landscape of the Utah sports scene has already changed a lot since the hosting of the Olympic Winter Games in 2002, explains Robbins. Highlights such as Street League Skateboarding last month, in addition to an NHL exhibition game on Thursday and Red Bull Rampage in October, are indicative of one thing: Utah lives up to the moniker. the Commission as the state of sport.

Growth may continue into the future with work currently underway to secure an additional Olympic bid over the next decade.

Having options readily available for sports fans to spend their money and have fun on the night of the big game may also get even better much sooner than an Olympic potential in the 2030s. While Milwaukee’s economic injection could Being attributed a degree to the Deer District, a shopping and dining area immediately surrounding the Fiserv Forum, where the Bucks play, the Jazz did not enjoy such a fan experience immediately around their field.

25,000 Bucks fans blocked the “Deer District” outside the arena to watch Game 6 of the NBA Finals on video screens. (Photo by Robert CHIARITO / AFP) (Photo by ROBERT CHIARITO / AFP via Getty Images)

However, Robbins sees signs of improvement and realizes the potential already existing in downtown Salt Lake City.

“I think you certainly see active economic activity going on there,” he says, citing the construction of several new hotels and buildings in the southeast corner of the arena, as well as the 2017 renovation of the building. himself. “As for outdoor shopping and things happening across the street, as the economy gets better and things get better, let’s hope that continues to evolve. “

Above all, the sport, and the Jazz in particular, have made Utah a worldwide name as an invaluable brand and promotion vessel. One of Robbins’ favorite stories is that of Zions Bank CEO and Chairman Scott Anderson, who was recently on an excursion to a remote part of Africa when a native enthusiastically recognized the basketball note logo. -ball on his son’s Jazz hat.

It helps that the team is led by a host of globally recognizable stars, such as Mitchell; Gobert, originally from France; Ingles, an Australian; Clarkson, a Filipino-American; and other international talents.

“When you start to look at the reach that Jazz has nationally and globally, I think that’s where it really helps that we’ve become an international team,” says Robbins. “When you look at the expansion of the NBA in the international world, it’s important. They are in Asia, they are in Europe, the players come from all over and it hasn’t been that long when it wasn’t necessarily the case.