Here’s how Utah businesses can benefit from the NBA All-Star Weekend
Over 120,000 visitors are expected in Salt Lake City for the 2023 NBA All-Star Weekend this month, and athletes won’t be the only ones in the spotlight.
Local, consumer-facing businesses that sign up for the NBA All-Star Rewards Program will be included in the NBA Events app. Fans will earn points when they use the app to check in at participating locations and can redeem those points for exclusive NBA prizes.
This is the first time Salt Lake City has hosted the All-Star Weekend since 1993. Caroline Klein, chief communications officer for the Utah Jazz, encourages businesses to get involved. “All-Star Weekend is a platform for the world to see what your business has,” she said. “Businesses that engage will get this potentially once-in-a-lifetime opportunity … Take advantage of All-Star as a global platform.”
Klein mentioned that because the All-Star game itself is scheduled to end at 9:00 p.m., businesses may want to extend their hours and staffing the night of Sunday, Feb. 19. She also suggested creating a branded special that ties into basketball.
Salted Honey Hospitality manages food and beverage service at Vivint Arena, where the All-Star Game will be held. Executive Chef Travis Taylor is excited to showcase Utah’s culinary culture. “We really have the taste of Salt Lake City in the building,” he said. He pointed to local favorites Cupbop, J.Dawgs, Thirst, Iceberg and Honest Eatery, all of which have a concessions presence at the arena.
"The competition will highlight up-and-coming Black entrepreneurs both in the Salt Lake City community and from across the country, providing eight contestants the opportunity to gain funding for their ventures and receive valuable counsel from influential business leaders across the NBA community."
Taylor is gearing up for catering in Vivint Arena’s private lofts and suites, where his team will be serving a signature menu that includes a wagyu tomahawk standing long-bone steak, heirloom tomato and mozzarella boards and other upscale fare. There will be more than 80 chefs in the building during All-Star Weekend who will be working close to 7,000 hours combined, Taylor says.
The NBA Foundation is giving Black entrepreneurs the spotlight by hosting a live pitch competition in collaboration with the National Black MBA Association. According to a press release, “The competition will highlight up-and-coming Black entrepreneurs both in the Salt Lake City community and from across the country, providing eight contestants the opportunity to gain funding for their ventures and receive valuable counsel from influential business leaders across the NBA community.” Ryan Smith, Ryan Sweeney, Steve Stoute and Elizabeth Rutledge will serve as judges for the competition.
This year’s All-Star Weekend gives Salt Lake City the chance to once again demonstrate the legendary hospitality and sense of community tourists experienced during the 2002 Olympic Winter Games. (A preview of things to come, perhaps?)
“The Utah Jazz is certainly host of this event, but we could never, ever do it alone. When you’re talking about a lift of this magnitude, it takes so many partners to put this on,” says Andrea Williams, chief experience officer for the Jazz. “Utah is a special place. I can tell you that between our volunteerism and service, no one in the United States gives as much as we do here in Utah.”