SALT LAKE CITY — Utah Jazz fans will be in for quite the different in-game experience at EnergySolutions Arena beginning this fall.
Although this summer will be a busy one for putting an actual team together, this has nothing to do with the product on the court.
But future Jazz teams will be easier to see — for better or worse.
Miller Sports Properties, which oversees Jazz operations, will spend $15 million in renovations in the 22-year-old building, with the highlight being a massive, cutting-edge video scoreboard.
Miller Sports has teamed up with another Utah company, YESCO Electronics, for the large project, which will include installation of 37 new screens, including a 10-million pixel LED HD video scoreboard that will dwarf the size of the JumboTron that's been in place since 2001.
The projected installation date is Sept. 15, although there is about two weeks of wiggle room built in to allow for setbacks. Traditionally, the NBA season begins around Halloween, although the Jazz will likely host multiple preseason games in mid-October.
"It's going to be quite something to behold," Miller Sports Properties president Steve Miller said at Monday's press conference.
The center-hung HD video boards will be 42 feet wide and 24 feet high on the sidelines and 26 feet by 17 feet on the baselines. Size-wise, the two larger screens are the equivalent of having 52 80-inch screens stacked together.
Overall, the new display area will be seven times larger than what the arena has offered since 2001. The entire scoreboard above the court will weigh 55,000 pounds.
For comparison's sake, the previous JumboTron screen was only 10 feet by 10 feet on each side, and was riddled with poor quality and technical difficulties — not to mention being the butt of jokes from Jazz fans, some of whom might've had bigger TVs in their family rooms.
"It speaks to our family's continued commitment to the Utah Jazz and to this community and to this state," said Miller, the son of owner Gail Miller. "We are here and we are committed to this arena and to this franchise."
To that point, it's worth noting that the Jazz are spending more money than usual this summer in hosting pre-draft workouts, a first-ever free agent mini-camp and overall scouting to help in this rebuilding era.
“Our organization is committed," Jazz president Randy Rigby said, "to building a championship-caliber team and providing fans with a great arena experience."
Complementing the video scoreboard — and its 2,900 square-foot screens — the sound system will also be upgraded to enhance the audio experience for games, concerts and other events at an arena that entertains 1.2 million people a year.
Miller described the video and audio improvements as being a "game-changer when it comes to overall game experiences" for fans and spectators of other events.
Rigby, who's been talking about the team getting a new scoreboard for years, described Monday as "truly a great day for sports fans (in) the state of Utah."
Other improvements in the arena will include four upper bowl corner boards with video and statistics, a superior sound system, including technology to adjust to audio hot spots, digital enhancements, two LED light rings, LED advertising signage and a new kitchen on the fourth floor for the executive suites.
The new scoreboard above center court will be built in a way that will allow for future additions.
Rigby said Jazz coaches and players are excited about the changes, which will make 19,911-seat ESA, the NBA's seventh-oldest arena, a much more exciting atmosphere from a visual and audio standpoint.
"With these visual and audio improvements," Miller Sports Properties COO Jim Olson said, "we believe EnergySolutions Arena will continue to attract marquee concerts, shows and sporting events that contribute to the economic vitality and enhance of the quality of life in this region.”
The Millers are excited to partner with a local company for this project.
"It means jobs will stay in Utah," he said.
"The opportunity to partner with (the Miller family) to provide a state-of-the-art video system for EnergySolutions Arena is a dream come true," YESCO vice president Ryan Young said.
Jeff Young, YESCO's chief marketing officer, proudly announced that the ESA's scoreboard and all of the technology put into it has been "designed, engineered and manufactured" in Utah.
"This is the best sign system display technology in the world," he added.
One example of the scoreboard's capabilities: The screens will refresh 200 times faster than most new household TVs.
Jokingly asked what ESA's new energy bill will be, the point was made by Young that this LED technology is "very, very energy efficient" and especially compared to the old scoreboard. It will have a much brighter display with a lower comparative energy output.
Though Miller didn't specify how much the negotiated price of the new scoreboard, he said the organization "will spend more on the LED package than we spent on the first half of the Utah Jazz." Miller pointed out that ticket prices will be dictated by "market demands" and "won't be contingent on this project."
And the old JumboTron?
The organization is looking into finding a way to repurpose it if possible.
Perhaps you could let them know if you have a room small enough to hold it in your basement.
By the way, the artist's rendition of the completed project — with a monster-size Derrick Favors making a move on the huge screen — included a mountain landscape along the sides of the court. That, Rigby said with a smile, will not become part of the changes made in the arena this offseason.
Rigby also smiled when asked if free-agents-to-be Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap will be with the Jazz to enjoy the upgrades next season, politely deferring the answer until July.
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