Jazz Owner Ryan Smith Believes Utah Could Support Another Pro Sports Team

Oct 19, 2022, 11:30 AM
NHL and MLB logos side by side...
NHL & MLB logos (Photo: Getty Images)
(Photo: Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY – Utah Jazz and Real Salt Lake owner Ryan Smith spoke candidly about the potential of another pro sports franchise in Utah.

As of late, it appears Smith, who started Smith Entertainment Group (SEG), is all in on the sports business. Shortly after purchasing the Utah Jazz, he was part of a group that bought Utah’s MLS club, Real Salt Lake.

“When we started SEG we made the decision that we were going into sports and if we are going in, we are going in,” Smith told DJ and PK during an exclusive interview on KSL Sports Zone.

He talked about the partnership with David Blitzer, who is the other part owner of Real Salt Lake. Blitzer’s group also owns part of the Sixers, New Jersey Devils and Cleveland Guardians.

“We just brought in Arctos and this is … what they do. They own pieces of about five or six teams in every league,” Smith gave a peek behind the curtain, “They are in every conversation in sports.”

Can Utah/Salt Lake City Support Another Pro Sports Team? Ask Ryan Smith.

“The one thing I am 100% convinced of is that we can support it in this market, especially if you look at the growth and where it is going,” he said during the interview.

Smith didn’t provide specifics on what sport could come to Utah. Could it be hockey? Maybe, the NHL fanbase in Utah seems strong. Year after year fans pack Vivint Arena for the Frozen Fury, a preseason hockey game put on by the Los Angeles Kings. Just a few weeks ago the Las Vegas Knights beat the Kings in Salt Lake City in front of a large crowd, where jerseys from more than 20 different NHL teams were spotted.

Or, could it be Major League Baseball? Utahns prove year after year that they love evenings at the ballpark in support of MiLB’s Salt Lake Bees, the TripleA affiliate of the Los Angeles Angels.

“What type of sport is really going to depend on timing and availability. This is a multi-year process,” Smith explained. “For example, if someone wanted a new NBA team right now, no matter how great the market is … it is not overnight. No one knows when that is actually coming.”

Smith explained the options for leagues, which are either relocation or expansion. He confirmed that conversations have been had about the future of another pro sports team in Utah.

“We’re opportunistic and we’re super ready,” Smith gave hope to sports fans in Utah who are rooting for another professional team.

Smith’s goal of creating an “entertainment district” around the Jazz and Real Salt Lake is already beginning to take off with improvements to Vivint Arena, another professional team would add to what Smith Entertainment Group is trying to build.

“This could provide something super powerful and something I think the state needs and definitely could support,” Smith said. “It would be really cool to be a part of that.”

Now the question is, what pro league do you want to see make a home in Utah?

Listen to full interview with Utah Jazz owner Ryan Smith on DJ & PK below.

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