Jim Olson has been appointed the president of the Utah Jazz and Larry H. Miller Sports & Entertainment (LHMSE), a role that should allow him to guide the fan experience at Vivint Smart Home Arena.
As part of his new post, Olson–who has previously been the executive vice president for LHMSE and president of Vivint Smart Home Arena–will oversee the day-to-day business operations of the Jazz. As president of LHMSE, Olson will also provide strategic leadership for properties such as Megaplex Theatres, Vivint Smart Home Arena, Minor League Baseball’s Salt Lake Bees (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League), Salt Lake City Stars NBA G League team, Jazz Gaming NBA 2K team, The Zone Sports Network and the Tour of Utah professional cycling race.
The appointment, announced by LHMSE chief executive officer Steve Starks, is effective October 7. It was noted in Monday’s announcement that Olson played a major role in recent renovations to Vivint Smart Home Arena, and that the fan experience at the venue will be one of his priorities in his new post.
“Jim has a comprehensive knowledge, understanding and application of our mission, vision, values, and culture,” Gail Miller, owner and chairman, Larry H. Miller Group of Companies, said in a press statement. “He has articulated a compelling long-term strategy to give back to the community, constantly innovate, improve the fan experience and win an NBA championship. He is an integral part of our team as we manage for the future.”
Olson joined the Jazz in 1994 and has held multiple positions within the organization, including vice president of ticket sales (2003-06), senior vice president of sales and marketing (2006-2013), chief operating officer of LHMSE (2013-15), and interim president of LHMSE. Additionally, Olson has had key management responsibilities for the Salt Lake Bees, The Zone Sports Network and the Tour of Utah.
“Jim has had an extensive and successful career with the Larry H. Miller Sports & Entertainment team,” Starks said in a press statement. “He thoroughly understands our community and fan base. I appreciate his focus on continuous improvement and delivering the best guest experiences within our offices, theatres, ballpark, and arena. He is a results-oriented business leader, committed to our industry. He played a key leadership role during the Vivint Smart Home Arena renovation and influenced many of the updates that visitors enjoy today.”
The Utah Jazz are coming off three straight NBA Playoff appearances as they embark on their 41st season in Salt Lake City. On the business side last season, the Jazz sold out every home game for only the fifth time ever and enter the season with 74 consecutive sellouts at Vivint Smart Home Arena. The Jazz are a leader among teams in revenue generated from corporate partnerships. The Jazz also had the third highest NBA local TV ratings at 6.6 and ranked third in the NBA in social media growth with more than five million followers.
“It is an honor to represent the Miller family and the Utah Jazz in this role and I am incredibly excited to get started,” Olson said in a press statement. “Our many businesses are healthy with a talented management team and group of employees in place. As an organization, we are stewards of community assets and committed to staging world-class teams and events. I believe we are well-positioned to support those aspirations on behalf of our passionate fan base, including our pursuit of an NBA championship.”
A native of Salt Lake City, Olson graduated from the University of Utah with a bachelor’s degree in communications. He attended Northeastern University in Boston where he received a master’s degree in sports and recreation management.
Olson has served on the Alumni Association Board of Directors and Crimson Club Board for the University of Utah, the Downtown Alliance, Visit Salt Lake, Salt Lake Chamber Board of Governors, and Camp Kostopulos board. He and his wife, Suzi, have four children and reside in Salt Lake City.