Commission approves increased digital signage for Jazz Arena

Rendering of proposed signage for the northwest and southeast corners of the Vivint Smart Home Arena. Image courtesy Salt Lake City public documents.

The Larry H. Miller Arena Corporation, owners of the Utah Jazz and the Vivint Smart Home Arena, want to amp up the visual displays on and around the block 79, the area bounded by 100 South and South Temple and 300 and 400 West.  On Wednesday the Salt Lake City Planning Commission helped the Jazz owner’s move closer to their goal by voting to forward a favorable recommendation to the Salt Lake City Council on zoning text amendments that would allow for new and more signage.

If approved by council, the zoning amendment would create a new localized alternative sign overlay district on the area block.  The proposed signage would include more visual display boards on the arena and wayfinding signs on the grounds.

“What we have going on on Block 79 is really exciting,” said Wade Budge, a representative of the Miller Family.  “This is part of a refresh to make our arena similar to other arenas.”

The Miller Family is nearing completion of a $125 million renovation, top-to-bottom renovation of the Vivint Smart Home Arena.

Most of the proposed signage would be focused on the northeast corner of the block where the America First Plaza is being constructed.  Above the plaza’s canopy will be a proposed large screen that will stream video displays including some live video of events happening in the arena.  The plaza will also include an illuminated J-sculpture with the Jazz logo located in front the northeast entrance. Smaller video signs will sit below the canopy at the northwest and southeast entrances and will mostly be visible to patrons entering the arena.

The Larry H. Miller family also wants to include six digital wayfinding signs.  The signs would be solar powered and interactive with two signs per corner on the northeast, northwest and southeast corners of the block.

According to Budge, the freestanding sign at the northeast corner of the block will most likely be removed.  In previous designs, the Family considered adding a rounded free standing sign but in the end opted to not include it in the arena’s renovations.

“We want to try and see how the fans react to the electronic displays above the building.  We think that is probably enough electronic interaction for now,” said Budge.

Commission members, in general, appeared satisfied with the proposed arena signage.  The text amendment would allow for more external signage than the Miller family is proposing.  While some commission members wanted less, others wanted to see more signage.

“I’m concerned that it is not enough to create enough excitement,” said Commission Member, Brenda Scheer. 

“It’s going to be big, it’s going to have an impact,” responded Budge.  “We’ve provided big enough boxes so that if the organization decides more is needed that ability to have more is there.”

Commission member Sara Urquhart, the lone no vote, questioned if the current proposal was too much.

“We don’t want to be Vegas,” said Urquhart.

If City Council approves the localized alternative sign overlay district for Block 79, it would be the second recent overlay district created downtown.  In 2016, City Council members approved the creation of a sign overlay district for the 100 South block of Regent Street.

The addition of the signage on the Vivint Smart Home Arena block could be the start of a larger sports and entertainment district dominated by large digital signage.  Developers, The Ritchie Group, plan to redevelop large portions of Block 67 on the 100 South block of 300 West.  That project will include a mix of residential, commercial and hospitality space.  Central to the plans for Block 67 includes the incorporation of similar digital signage proposed for the Vivint Smart Home Arena.

Nighttime rendering of proposed signage and plaza for the northeast corner of the Vivint Smart Home Arena. Image courtesy Salt Lake City public documents.
Rendering of potential round free standing sign on the northeast corner of the Vivint Smart Home Arena. Image courtesy Salt Lake City public documents.

Posted by Isaac Riddle

Isaac Riddle grew up just outside of Salt Lake City, Utah. He has a BA in English literature from the University of Utah and a Masters of Journalism from Temple University. Isaac has written for Next City, The Philadelphia Public School Notebook and Salt Lake City Weekly. Before embarking on a career in journalism, Isaac taught High School English in the Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia. Isaac is the founder of Building Salt Lake and can be reached at