Utah Jazz has been officially sold by the Miller family, former owners of the basketball team, to Ryan Smith, American billionaire and founder of Qualtrics, for USD1.66 billion. NBA Board of Governors final approval is still pending.
The Utah Jazz has a new owner after more than 3 decades. The NBA basketball team has been sold to Ryan Smith. Smith is the founder of Qualtrics, a cloud computing company based in Utah which has been sold to SAP for USD8 billion almost 2 years ago.
The Miller family has announced that the team has been officially transferred to Ryan Smith for USD1.66 billion. However, in the transaction, other than the ownership of the Utah Jazz, there are other assets such as the Vivint Smart Home Arena, where the Utah Jazz play their home matches.
As reported by CGTN, “the Miller family bought the Jazz with 22 million U.S. dollars in 1985 and went through the most glorious time of with the team. In the following 35 years, the Jazz had 16 50-win seasons, made the playoffs 27 times, won nine division titles and two Western Conference championships. In the two seasons between 1996 and 1998, the Jazz coached by Jerry Sloan, made the NBA Finals twice in a row, driving Michael Jordan and his Chicago Bulls into a corner”.
Gail Miller commented the deal as follows, “I have known Ryan for several years and admire the values by which he and his wife Ashley live their lives. They have such love for and a connection to Utah and this team. Because of our friendship and several high-level conversations over the years, Ryan recently approached our organization to inquire about the possibility of purchasing the Utah Jazz and some of our other sports and entertainment properties. After much soul searching, lengthy discussions and extensive evaluations of our long-term goals, my family and I decided this was the right time to pass our responsibility and cherished stewardship of 35 years to Ryan and Ashley, who share our values and are committed to keeping the team in Utah”.
The young Ryan Smith seems that he tries in the past several time to acquire the Utah Jazz and finally he manages to achieve his dream. Smith commented, “I’ve approached Gail and the Millers a couple of times. There’s no secret about my interest in the NBA, and there’s really no secret about my interest in the Jazz. I grew up watching the Jazz. This is the team I cheered for. I played Junior Jazz. I dreamed of playing for the Jazz, and that didn’t work out. But as I was sitting there this week in the Junior Jazz program you guys started, with hundreds of kids running around, the legacy you’ve created is untouchable. We’re all incredibly grateful for that. The Jazz are a gift to this whole community, and that’s how we view it. That’s 100 percent how we view this”.
The deal, now, need to be officially vetted and approved by the NBA Board of Governors before being completely considered done.