New SLC council member shares input on keeping Utah Jazz in SLC

Jan 3, 2024, 9:30 PM | Updated: Jan 12, 2024, 2:25 pm

SLC councilperson Eva Lopez Chavez talks Utah Jazz...

SLC councilperson Eva Lopez Chavez talks about her hopes and vision while at the City and Council building in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2023. (Scott G Winterton/Deseret News)

(Scott G Winterton/Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — It’s been discussed that the Utah Jazz could seek a move outside of Salt Lake City for somewhere further south. Newly appointed member of the SLC Council Eva Lopez Chavez shared a brief message during her inauguration on Tuesday to Jazz Owner Ryan Smith. She has some ideas on what can be done to bring life back to downtown Salt Lake City and keep the Jazz there.

“It (the Utah Jazz) is the beating heart and soul of our city. Diversity and density are our strengths,” she said in her speech. “But someone tell that to Ryan Smith because you sure won’t find that at the Point of the Mountain.”

Lopez Chavez tells KSL NewsRadio “District Four (downtown Salt Lake City) is a vibrant place that can’t be replicated anywhere else in our state.”


In Utah’s future, she sees “positive reinvestment” into downtown Salt Lake City.

“Which is exciting for me, not just from a business or economic perspective, but as somebody that’s actively seeking to build up our community,” Lopez Chavez said.

According to Lopez Chavez, in 2023 around 40 restaurants and bars opened in Salt Lake City. This and the 10,000 new residents expected to move to Utah by 2025 are reasons why the Jazz should not move.

“This to me says this is still the densest part of our city in our state. And we need to capitalize on these opportunities,” she said. “That means giving access to people to have opportunities to celebrate and ‘take note’ and be a part of our institution which is our jazz team.”

What might it take for the Utah Jazz to stay in SLC?

The Utah Jazz is not the only NBA team that has been in talks of leaving its city. There have been reports of the Oklahoma City Thunder potentially moving. However, the city recently voted in favor of the construction of a new stadium for the Thunder. This means the team will stay put until at least 2050, according to Forbes.

Are the Jazz in a similar situation? Could the Salt Lake City Council make an offer the team couldn’t resist?

“I think all cards are on the table … until we make a final decision,” Lopez Chavez said. “I’m just excited by the opportunity to showcase this really diverse neighborhood. There’s more families moving into the downtown than we’ve ever seen before … As I actively listen, not just to the different stakeholders, residents and my neighbors, but to make sure that we amplify our downtown. It’s something that the whole state should be proud of.”

For Lopez Chavez, the Utah Jazz are an “ingredient baked into the fabric of Salt Lake City.”

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New SLC council member shares input on keeping Utah Jazz in SLC