Jazz Fans Prove Sunday Home Schedule Is No Obstacle
Feb 5, 2024, 1:30 PM
SALT LAKE CITY – It might be time to put to bed the old adage that sports fans in the state of Utah won’t support their favorite teams on a Sunday.
Against the Milwaukee Bucks, 18,206 screaming Utah Jazz sold out the Delta Center to cheer for their team on a Sunday, just as if it were any other day of the week.
Fans even withstood a 14-point fourth-quarter deficit, sticking with the Jazz through an improbable come-from-behind victory over the Bucks.
“Utah crowds won’t show up on a Sunday” pic.twitter.com/S0t2ZwiafO
— Ben Anderson (@BensHoops) February 5, 2024
It marked the second time this season the Jazz had sold out their home arena on a Sunday, following the team’s double-overtime loss to the Phoenix Suns on November 19.
In both cases, the tightly contested games asked fans to stay through the final buzzer, and the fans delivered.
Jazz Hadn’t Hosted Game On Sunday Since 2001
Dating back more than two decades, the Jazz had avoided hosting games in Salt Lake City on Sundays.
Former team owner Larry H. Miller, a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, didn’t attend games on Sundays and asked the NBA not to schedule the Jazz on those dates in Utah.
The @utahjazz actually have a successful history of playing home games on Sundays.
The team has won their last four home Sunday games dating back to April 11, 1999.
Jazz 109-98 Suns: 1/2101
Jazz 93-90 Spurs: 2/6/00
Jazz 98-81 Sonics: 4/25/99
Jazz 85-76 Rockets: 4/11/99
— Ben Anderson (@BensHoops) August 17, 2023
But, in an effort to cut down on the wear and tear of back-to-back games, the NBA mandated that all teams designate a handful of Sunday dates to host games ahead of the 2023-24 season.
That meant that for the first time since January 21, 2001, the Jazz were required to play home games on a Sunday.
Through two Sunday showings, filling the Delta Center hasn’t been an issue.
Sunday Play Unavoidable With Expansion Franchises
Though the Jazz will only play three regular season home games on Sundays this season, any expansion franchises brought to Utah would likely increase the number of Sunday home games in the state.
If the Jazz were to share the Delta Center with a new NHL franchise, the league’s overlapping 82-game schedule may require both teams to adopt more Sunday home games.
Additionally, if the MLB were to expand into Utah, Sunday afternoon games would be required due to the league’s rigorous 162-game regular season schedule.
If Sunday play had been a sticking point for major leagues considering expansion into Utah, Jazz fans have proven this season that it’s no cause for concern.
The Jazz will play one more Sunday home game on February 25 against the San Antonio Spurs before the conclusion of the regular season.
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Ben Anderson is the Utah Jazz insider for KSL Sports and the co-host of Jake and Ben from 10-12p with Jake Scott on 97.5 The KSL Sports Zone. Find Ben on Twitter at @BensHoops or on Instagram @BensHoops.
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