The arena was originally imagined as 20,000-seat home for the Utah Jazz and Salt Lake Golden Eagles to replace the since-demolished arena of the Salt Palace, which had 12,616 seats. Under the leadership and private financing of Utah businessman Larry H. Miller, ground was broken on May 22, 1990, and it was completed on October 4, 1991, in time for late-October basketball games, at a cost of $93 million ($177 million in 2020 dollars).
The first game played in the arena was a Golden Eagles match against the Peoria Rivermen on October 16, 1991, which the home team lost 4–2. The Eagles had also played the inaugural game in the Salt Palace arena when it opened on October 10, 1969.
The first basketball game played in the arena was a Jazz pre-season loss against Patrick Ewing and the New York Knicks, 101–95.
Exterior view of arena under original name, 2005
In addition to the Utah Jazz and Blaze, the arena has also been the home of the WNBA's Utah Starzz from 1997 to 2002, the Salt Lake Golden Eagles from 1991 to 1994, and the Utah Grizzlies from 1995 to 1997, both of the International Hockey League. Notably, on June 8, 1996, the Delta Center hosted what was then the largest crowd in the history of American minor league hockey: 17,381 fans attended Game 4 of the 1996 Turner Cup Finals.
Dan Roberts serves as the public address announcer for the Jazz. He has been the Jazz's home game announcer since before the arena was built.