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EnergySolutions Arena has reached the end of its full life, and the home of the Utah Jazz now has a new name.
On Monday, the Larry H. Miller Group announced Provo-based home security company Vivint as the venue's next naming-rights sponsor. Starting this season, the Jazz will play their games in the Vivint Smart Home Arena.
The new deal is for 10 years, with Vivint owning an option to extend the lease another five. LHM and Vivint officials lauded the marriage as a partnership that will go beyond just naming rights to include "an interactive 'Vivint Smart Home Experience' on the arena concourse, expertise in products and services to improve the game night fan experience, and upgraded security and automation technology at the basketball facilities."
"We were looking for more than somebody to put a logo on the building," Larry H. Miller Sports and Entertainment President Steve Starks said, as the companies announced their new partnership during a Monday ceremony inside the downtown Salt Lake City arena.
Vivint founder and CEO Todd Pedersen said the moment was a surreal one.
"Five, six, seven years ago, my wife and I would come to the games and kind of looked up and I actually said, and it seemed like a crazy statement, 'What if we ever had our name or brand on the arena?' Kind of jokingly though," said Pedersen, who started his company in a single-wide trailer more than 20 years ago.
On Monday, temporary signs were already hanging outside the arena. The new name will be on the court when the Jazz play their first home game Nov. 4, and signs will be installed during the next month.
The new sponsorship agreement will mark the third name change for the Jazz's arena since it opened 25 years ago.
The 20,000-seat venue was originally christened the Delta Center when the Jazz first moved out of the old Salt Palace and into the new, $93 million building in 1991. It's what the building was called for the next 15 years, as it hosted an NBA All-Star game in 1993 and back-to-back NBA Finals in 1997 and 1998 and skating competitions during the 2002 Olympics.
But with Delta Air Lines facing bankruptcy proceedings when it came to renegotiate the arena agreement in 2006, talks stalled and the nuclear waste disposal company EnergySolutions stepped in to sign a 10-year deal.
After it became clear earlier this year that Utah nuclear waste company was not going to renew its agreement, Starks said, the Jazz started vetting possible replacements in June. LHM officials were in discussions with more than 10 possible arena sponsors, before reaching a deal with Vivint last month.
"With a long-term agreement in place," Starks said, "we believe the next chapter in the storied history of this building will be very exciting."
Dressed in a flat-billed trucker hat and a pearl snap shirt, Pedersen looked like one of the thousands of college students whose door-to-door sales each summer helped APX Alarm Security Solutions grow out of another company in 1999, hawking and installing home-security systems.
The company would go through a name change and rapid growth in the coming years. According to Vivint materials, the company was bringing in a recurring monthly revenue of $30 million by June 2012. In September of the same year, the business was acquired for $2 billion. Now Vivint's scope has expanded to include "home security, energy management, home automation, local cloud storage, and high-speed Internet solutions," with more than 8,000 employees and a million customers in the U.S. and Canada.
That growth might explain the arena's new cumbersome name.
"They're no longer just a security company, so that was important for them to have the 'Smart Home' element," Starks said. "It's one more word, but two less syllables than EnergySolutions Arena. So in terms of flow, we don't think it will take too long for fans to be able to recite it quickly."
At Jazz practice Monday, the players were at least willing to try.
"Think it will definitely be a change, for sure," Jazz forward Gordon Hayward said. "We've gotten used to saying EnergySolutions Arena. But it's a good Utah company. We're proud of our fans and how they support the team, and it will be cool."
Now it seems fans of the Jazz will have to get used to something new.
Perhaps being named after a home security company isn't the worst thing for the franchise: the Jazz went 21-20 last season in Salt Lake City, a home record below the league average.