Oct. 28 (UPI) — The Miller family, which has owned at least 50 percent of the Utah Jazz since 1985, has entered into an agreement to sell the team and other sports and entertainment properties to Qualtrics founder Ryan Smith for $ 1.66 billion.
The organization announced the pending transaction Wednesday. Included in the deal are the Jazz, Vivint Arena, the NBA G League’s Salt Lake City Stars and management of the Triple-A baseball affiliate Salt Lake Bees.
The NBA board of governors must formally approve the sale.
Smith, 40, is a lifelong Utah resident and Jazz fan who created software company Qualtrics before it sold for a reported $ 8 billion in January 2019. He had a long-standing corporate partnership with the Jazz franchise and was co-creator of the “5 For The Fight” jersey patch, which has raised more than $ 25 million.
“I have known Ryan for several years and admire the values by which he and his wife Ashley live their lives,” Jazz owner Gail Miller said in a statement Wednesday. “They have such love for and a connection to Utah and this team.
“… 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.”
Under the Miller family, the Jazz have 16 50-win seasons, nine division titles and two Western Conference championships. Only the San Antonio Spurs have a better winning percentage than the Jazz since the 1989-90 season.