SALT LAKE CITY — Vivint Arena in downtown Salt Lake City hosted more than 13,000 fans Sunday night as the Utah Jazz took on the Memphis Grizzlies for their first playoff game this season.
This is about double the number of fans allowed in during the regular season due to COVID-19 protocols.
“We started with about 10 percent of our fans here in December," Jazz spokesman Frank Zang said. "Now as we enter the playoffs, we are at about 70 percent."
Fans were buzzing with excitement as they made their way into the arena.
13,000 fans here tonight for the @utahjazz first playoff game of the season! I can’t remember the last time I saw a crowd like this!! @fox13 pic.twitter.com/EierK6Lkpk— Sydney Glenn (@SydneyGlennTV) May 24, 2021
“I am just so excited," said Jaden Snarr, a self-proclaimed die-hard Jazz fan. "We haven’t been to a game since COVID, so this is just amazing."
While fans are excited to cheer on their fans, employees are excited to welcome back customers. The past year has been tough on business for places like TotallyNutz.
“It has been really difficult, especially since this arena is basically dependent on people getting here,” said Thomas Birrell, a TotallyNutz employee.
Big game means, busy night for concession stands at the @utahjazz Vivint Arena. Employees at TotallyNutz has been here since 1pm preparing for the evening! As a family business, employees say it’s been a tough year w/ #COVID19 so they are thrilled to see a crowd of 13k ! pic.twitter.com/IK1In59Gyl— Sydney Glenn (@SydneyGlennTV) May 23, 2021
Now, things are looking up.
“Now that it is picking back up, a lot of people are really excited about it,” Birrell said.
Masks are still required due to NBA protocols.