NBA Approves Sale Of Jazz To Ryan Smith
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The NBA Board of Governors officially approved the sale of the Utah Jazz to Ryan Smith.
The Miller family, the long-time owners of the Jazz agreed to sell a majority share of the franchise to Smith in November, pending the approval of the fellow league owners.
Smith rose to financial and local fame as the founder and CEO of Qualtrics. The company was founded by Smith, a Provo native, in 2002. In 2019, he sold the brand to a German company for $8 billion.
Smith purchased the majority share for a reported $1.6 billion.
The sale includes the Jazz, Vivint Arena, the Jazz G League affiliate the Salt Lake City Stars, and management of the Triple-A baseball affiliate Salt Lake Bees.
The move is a significant change for the franchise which has been owned by the Miller family outright since 1986. The Jazz claimed two Western Conference championship under the Miller’s tutelage, but have not returned to the NBA Finals since 1998.
“We’re extremely excited to continue this journey and build upon the legacy that’s here and that’s honestly what’s made this possible,” Smith said when the sale was announced. “And there’s not really another team or another opportunity that we would do this with.”
The Qualtrics CEO and his wife Ashley are lifelong basketball fans and said they remain committed to the Miller’s vision of keeping the franchise in the state.
“We love basketball, we love the Jazz, and we really love Utah,” Ashley Smith said. “So this is an awesome event for us. We are blown away and honored that we get to share this experience with Utah and Jazz nation.”
The Jazz begin their season under new ownership on December 23 when they face the Portland Trail Blazers on the road.