Utah Jazz Change Hands
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah. — After 35 years owning the Utah Jazz, Gail Miller of Larry H. Miller Group of Companies has passed the keys to 42-year-old Utahn Ryan Smith, founder and CEO of Qualtrics, and his wife Ashley. The announcement came after a unanimous vote of approval by the NBA Board of Governors on Dec. 18.
Smith grew up a Jazz fan and showed his enthusiasm for the purchase in this statement:
“The Jazz have a phenomenal leadership team who will continue to guide the organization,” he said. “We are all committed to building, and to building in Utah.”
“There’s no question that we have the best fans in the world,” Gail Miller said at an October press conference, when her decision was first announced. “I have every confidence [the Smiths will] move the team to the next level while honoring our history, our common goals, and our work.”
The Millers will retain a small stake in the franchise. ESPN reported the purchase of the team to be more than $1.6B. Larry and Gail Miller bought 50 percent of the Jazz in May 1985 for $8M. The following year they purchased the remaining 50 percent for $14M.
The Smith family expressed excitement for continuing the Utah Jazz legacy.
“We’re committed to their vision, we’re committed to Utah and we’re committed to the Jazz. So let’s go!” Ashley Smith said at the press conference.