After 35 years of ownership, the Miller family has agreed to sell the Utah Jazz and Vivint Arena to Qualtrics founder Ryan Smith for $1.66 billion, according to Adrian Wojnarowski.
Along with the arena, the deal also includes the Jazz’s G League affiliate Salt Lake City Stars and Salt Lake City Bees, a Triple-A baseball team.
Smith, 40, is a lifelong Utah resident and Jazz fan who built a software company that sold for a reported $8 billion.
He had a long-standing relationship with the Jazz franchise and was the co-creator of the team’s “5 For The Fight” jersey patch which has raised over $25 million for charity in recent years, Wojnarowski adds.
The NBA board of governors now must approve the sale.
“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,” said Gail Miller. “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. We have every confidence they will continue the work we have undertaken and move the team to the next level. Our family remains invested in the success of the Utah Jazz and these businesses, and we will retain a minority interest.”
In those 35 years under the Miller family, the Jazz had 16 50-win seasons, nine division titles and two Western Conference championships.
Only the San Antonio Spurs have a better win percentage than the Jazz (1,470-1,014) since the 1989-1990 season.