Jazz Owner Smith Trying To Bring Third Pro Team To Utah

Jazz owner Ryan Smith has sold a minority stake in Smith Entertainment Group, the team’s parent company, to private equity firm Arctos Sports Partners with the “intention to bring a third professional sports franchise to the state” of Utah, writes Eric Walden of The Salt Lake Tribune.

As Walden details, in addition to owning the Jazz, Smith Entertainment Group also owns Vivint Arena, the team’s home venue, and is a shareholder in Major League Soccer club Real Salt Lake. Arctos will now be invested in all three ventures, pending approval of the NBA’s Board of Governors. Arctos actually already had a minority stake in RSL, so evidently the private equity firm had its eyes on a bigger prize.

On the NBA side, Arctos holds a 17% stake in the Kings and 13% in the Warriors, in addition to numerous other professional sports franchises. According to Walden, it seems that SEG and Arctos will be trying to bring either an MLB or NHL team to Utah in the future, as NFL teams currently forbid private investment firms and are extremely expensive.

We are excited to partner with Arctos. They are committed to Utah and to investing in this community and our sports teams and facilities,” Smith said in a statement. “As SEG continues to build out the professional sports landscape in the state, the Arctos partnership brings strong commitment to Utah sports and a deep connection across all major sports leagues.”

While the move presumably has no bearing on the Jazz’s on-court product, it certainly shows Smith’s commitment to his home state. Many around the NBA are waiting to see what’s next for the team after it traded Rudy Gobert to Minnesota and is reportedly listening to offers for three-time All-Star Donovan Mitchell.

View Comments (46)