After owning the Jazz for 35 years, the Miller family has reached an agreement to sell the team to Qualtrics founder Ryan Smith, tweets ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. The purchase price will be $1.66 billion, according to Scott Soshnick of Sportico.
The Jazz confirmed the agreement in a press release on their website. The deal will include Vivint Arena, the G League Salt Lake City Stars, and management of the Salt Lake City Bees, a Triple-A baseball team.
“I have known Ryan for several years and admire the values by which he and his wife Ashley live their lives,” said Gail Miller, owner and chair of the Larry H. Miller Group of Companies (LHM Group). “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. 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.”
As the creator of Qualtrics, Smith has been a corporate partner of the Jazz for a long time. He was the co-creator of the team’s “5 For The Fight” jersey patch, which has brought in more than $25MM in charitable donations in the past three years. Smith founded the Provo, Utah-based a subscription software company in 2002 and sold it in 2019 for a reported $8 billion.
“The Miller family has had an unbelievable impact on countless people through the Utah Jazz and the other organizations they run,” Smith said. “We all owe a great debt to the Miller family for the amazing stewardship they have had over this asset for the past 35 years. My wife and I are absolutely humbled and excited about the opportunity to take the team forward far into the future – especially with the greatest fans in the NBA. The Utah Jazz, the state of Utah, and its capital city are the beneficiaries of the Millers’ tremendous love, generosity and investment. We look forward to building upon their lifelong work.”
Larry and Gail Miller originally bought a 50% stake in the Jazz in 1985 for just $8MM, then bought the other half a year later for $14MM, according to The Associated Press.