Logo of Utah Jazz.
Logo of Utah Jazz. Image Credits : Twitter (@utahjazz)

Majority of the interest of Utah Jazz is being sold to technology entrepreneur Ryan Smith, a decision when formally approved by the NBA will end the Miller family’s 35-year long run as owners of the franchise.
On Wednesday, the Jazz said that “definitive agreements” have been struck with Smith on the sale of the team, Vivint Arena, the team’s G League affiliate and management of a Triple-A baseball club. Play of that agreement required for the team to remain in Utah.
Smith is the co-founder of a Utah-based firm called Qualtrics, which was sold to SAP for $8 billion in an all-cash deal finalized last year.
Owner and chair of the Larry H. Miller Group, Gail Miler said she has known Smith and his wife Ashley for some time. Smith approached the Millers to gauge their interest in a sale. The terms were not immediately disclosed, though ESPN reported the purchase price to be more than $1.6 billion.
Miller said, “After many souls searching, lengthy discussions and extensive evaluations of our long-term goals, my family and I decided it 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. We have every confidence they will continue the work we have undertaken and moved the team to the next level.”
The sale has to be approved by the NBA’s board of governors. Once that happens, Smith will be installed as the team’s governor. The Miller family will retain a stake in the franchise.
Larry and Gail Miller bought 50% of the Jazz for $8 million in May 1985, then bought the remaining 50% the following year for $14 million. In its annual valuation of franchises, Forbes said the Jazz were worth $1.55 billion earlier this year.
The Jazz have the third-best record since the 1985-86 season, their 0.588 winning percentage in that span trailing only the Los Angeles Lakers (0.596) and San Antonio Spurs (0.633).