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Utah Jazz acquire new owners after NBA approves franchise sale

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Ryan Smith of Qualtrics technological firm is now the new owner of Utah Jazz with the NBA Board Of Governors finally approving the sale of the franchise. The board expressed their delight at the “fantastic addition” to the league.

The tech billionaire is the co-founder and chief executive of Utah software company Qualtrics and will assume control of the team that has been owned by the Miller family for the past 35 years.

Utah
NBA approved the sale of Utah Jazz (CBS Sports)

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver welcomed Ryan Smith to the NBA and lauded the visionary for his contributions to the Utah community well before the acquisition of the franchise.

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“Ryan Smith is a forward-thinking, community-minded entrepreneur and business leader who will be a fantastic addition to our league,” 

“As a life-long fan of the Utah Jazz and more recently as one of their key marketing partners, Ryan has demonstrated his deep commitment to the Jazz and the Utah community and there’s no doubt he will bring that same level of dedication to the operation of the team.” Silver said in a statement

Utah Jazz, which has been branded as the 21st most valuable team in the world with a valuation of $1.55 billion, was sold to Smith and Qualtrics for a reported sum of $1.66 billion. The Miller family will not be ousted completely from the franchise after inheriting a minority stake.

Smith brings a lot on to the table for the Utah Jazz

Utah Jazz sold to Qualtrics co-founder Ryan Smith for US$1.6bn - SportsPro  Media
Ryan Smith has been a lifelong resident of Utah (SportsPro Media)
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Ryan Smith has been a lifelong resident of Utah and has contributed massively to the community over the years. Apart from the team itself, Smith will also attain a majority stake in the home venue of the Jazz, Vivint Arena as well as developmental basketball and baseball clubs in Salt Lake City.

Being a corporate sponsor for the franchise for several years, Qualtrics’ efforts include a philanthropic patch on the jersey which has managed to raise over $25 million.

“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,” Smith said earlier this year.

“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… We look forward to building upon their lifelong work.”

Utah Jazz were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs by eventual conference finalists Denver Nuggets last season. They were victorious in their pre-season contest against the LA Clippers and will face Portland Trail Blazers in their first game of the 2020-21 season.

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