Some cry foul as Salt Lake County chips in to help the Jazz pay for the NBA All-Star Game

The Utah Jazz gets a half-million-dollar serving to hand in web hosting the 2023 NBA All-Star Game after Salt Lake County officers redirected public cash to the effort.

In go back for the contribution, licensed closing month in a 5-3 County Council vote, the county gets an ensemble of group engagement occasions related to this assemblage of the league’s brightest stars.

“This is an opportunity to inspire the youth of our community,” Mayor Jenny Wilson stated in an interview. “It’s an opportunity to showcase our state.”

Proponents say the spending is a protected guess for the county as a result of the earnings from the All-Star Game at Vivint Arena and similar occasions the weekend of Feb. 18 and 19 will a ways outweigh the funding.

Opponents, on the other hand, soured on the thought of investment a rich enterprise’s non-public undertaking, and stated the cash can be higher spent somewhere else.

The $500,000 county officers are reallocating used to be amassed via a room tax that guests pay after they keep in accommodations.

The cash used to be at the start pegged for a Salt Lake Community College hospitality program however turned into to be had after the program proved unpopular and the faculty returned the unspent price range.

Wilson stated the Jazz approached the county for the money.

What may the county get?

(Charles Krupa | AP) Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry shoots for 3 as Memphis Grizzlies’ Ja Morant defends all the way through the NBA All-Star Game in 2022 in Cleveland. Salt Lake City will degree the 2023 sport.

The mayor informed council contributors that the funding would help those that can’t have the funds for a dear All-Star Game price tag take part in the festivities.

County officers have mentioned web hosting a studying program — whole with appearances from NBA mascots — that might give children alternatives to win prizes like stickers, products or tickets to smaller occasions all the way through All-Star weekend.

The county additionally hopes to invest in adolescence basketball video games at the Salt Palace Convention Center, pay former NBA avid gamers to seem at a county-owned game middle, and create artwork installations that might be loose for the public to revel in.

Team President Jim Olson informed council contributors that group engagement techniques would consume up $165,000 of the county’s contribution. The ultimate $335,000 can be the staff’s to use for the total tab for web hosting the sport.

It’s unclear if the $165,000 Olson famous comprises the price of an “exclusive All-Star hospitality experience” for County Council contributors and management. That conceivable match used to be the simplest thought indexed in schedule backup fabrics that used to be no longer mentioned all the way through the assembly.

Wilson stated none of the group engagement concepts has been finalized.

“Nothing at this stage,” she stated, “is set in stone.”

Wilson stated the proposed hospitality match wouldn’t be a chance for the events to wine and dine with elected officers and that such an match can be irrelevant. But a part of being in a management function, she stated, is web hosting.

“There will be people coming into the county that are part of the games that we would want to engage with,” she stated. “ … I don’t see it as a negative if it’s done in the right way and for the right reasons.”

Frank Zang, a spokesperson for the Jazz, stated the staff has been in talks with the county, state and Salt Lake City since 2019, when the league introduced Utah’s capital as the host town for the sport.

Now that the investment from the county has been licensed, Zang stated the group engagement concepts might be fleshed out.

“We appreciate the support of (Salt Lake) County to help bring this marquee NBA event to our community for the first time in 30 years,” Zang wrote in an e mail, “so a new generation can have the experience.”

Proposal runs into opposition

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Salt Lake County Council member Dave Alvord, proven in December 2021, hostile the county giving lodge tax cash to the Utah Jazz for the NBA All-Star Game.

The 3 council contributors who voted towards the investment — Republicans Richard Snelgrove, Dea Theodore and Dave Alvord — puzzled whether or not backing the All-Star Game used to be the highest use of county cash.

“For me,” Theodore stated all the way through the assembly, “it seems a little elitist in some ways to put money towards this when people are out there struggling, and the county’s putting so much money into basketball, potentially.”

Snelgrove stated he needs to take a look at how room tax cash might be spent on current pieces in the finances to stave off tax hikes in the long term.

And Alvord has his doubts about whether or not contributing to the total price of staging the sport suits the intent of the regulation that governs how room taxes may also be spent. (The county says the spending necessarily quantities to advertising and is aboveboard.)

The council member stated he would have proposed giving the staff $165,000 to pay for group engagement occasions simplest, however he used to be not able to formally suggest the thought beneath council laws.

“I wasn’t comfortable handing a blank check,” Alvord wrote in a textual content message.

The room tax the county reallocated is particular to selling the group. Alvord stated he didn’t assume the staff had a enough rationalization for how it might use the more money.

Publicly sponsored on the promise of a giant payoff

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune)
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver publicizes that Salt Lake City will host the 2023 NBA All-Star Game at a information convention in Salt Lake City in 2019.

Rusty Cannon, president of the business-backed Utah Taxpayers Association, known as the council’s resolution an affordable, prudent use of room tax cash.

“As far as we can tell, no NBA host team has ever made a profit by hosting the All Star Game,” Cannon wrote in an e mail. “The rewards and benefits actually accrue to the host city and surrounding areas that collect a large amount of increased sales tax, (room) tax and related economic activity from the event and those coming to the event.”

The county’s approval of investment is simplest the newest contribution of public cash to web hosting the match.

The state kicked in $3 million via the Utah Sports Commission, and Salt Lake City is surroundings apart $1 million for public protection staffing, blocking streets and advertising.

Governments have a tendency to be keen to help fund primary occasions like the All-Star Game as a result of the expectation of big financial payoff.

Olson, the Jazz president, stated the 2022 All-Star Game and its related occasions in Cleveland drew 121,000 attendees, the identical of 47,000 room nights, $250 million in spending, and generated media protection price about $50 million.

He stated he expects the advantages of Salt Lake City’s sport to closing for years.

“Everyone that comes to Utah, they come back,” Olson stated. “It’s who we are. It’s what we have to offer.”

Editor’s be aware • This tale is to be had to Salt Lake Tribune subscribers simplest. Thank you for supporting native journalism.

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