Miller family shockingly sell Jazz to business prodigy for $1.6 billion after 35 years of ownership
The Utah Jazz organization will be undergoing a shift in ownership and management as the Miller family has already entered into an agreement to sell the franchise to businessman Ryan Smith for a reported $1.6 billion price tag.
Gail Miller, owner and chair of the Larry H. Miller Group of Companies and the Miller family today announced they have entered into definitive agreements to sell a majority interest in the Utah Jazz and other sports and entertainment properties to technology entrepreneur Ryan Smith, co-founder of Utah-based Qualtrics, according to the team’s official website.
Included in the pending transaction is the Utah Jazz, Vivint Arena, the NBA G League affiliate Salt Lake City Stars, and management of the Triple-A baseball affiliate Salt Lake Bees.
ESPN‘s Adrian Wojnarowski also provided more details regarding the recent agreement via Twitter:
Smith had been co-creator of the Jazz's "5 For The Fight" jersey patch, which has raised over $25 million for charity in recent years.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) October 28, 2020
The Jazz franchise have been owned by the Larry H. Miller group of companies since 1986 where the late Miller purchased the team for $24 million. The potential sale includes the rights over Vivint Arena, the home stadium of the team which is currently in pending for the approval of the NBA Board of Governors.
Ryan Smith has already been previously involved with the team as he became the mind behind the Jazz’s “5 For The Fight” patch, a global campaign that fights cancer, which appears on the team’s jerseys since 2017 and will run through the 2023 season via an extended partnership deal.
The 40-year-old is the chief executive officer and founder of a software company named Qualtrics which he established back in 2002. He is also a lifelong Utah resident and a fan of the team.
It is the first NBA team transaction since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has put many teams into a difficult financial position. According to Forbes Magazine’s annual rankings, the Jazz are currently listed as the No. 21 most valuable team in the league with a valuation of $1.55 billion.