Skip to main content

From a basement in Utah to owning the Jazz


The majority interest of the Utah Jazz is being sold to technology entrepreneur Ryan Smith, a move that will end the Miller family’s 35-year run as owners of the franchise when formally approved by the NBA.

After 35 years of running the Utah Jazz franchise, The Miller family era came to an end, as reportedly, another Utah native and tech entrepreneur Ryan Smith are getting ready to acquire the majority interest in the team out of Salt Lake City.

Smith, 40, is the co-founder of Qualtrics, a tech company specializing in online survey research and cloud computing. He started the company with his brother in their parents' basement in 2002 - Karl Malone and John Stockton were still playing for the team. Today Qualtrics has more than 8,500 enterprise customers including over 75% of the Fortune 100, 1,800 colleges and universities worldwide, and 99 of the top 100 U.S. business schools.

Scroll to Continue

Recommended Articles

With his acquisition of the Jazz, Smith will become one of the youngest NBA owners and become another member of the NBA's board of governors with roots in the tech industry.

Gail Miller, known as the wealthiest woman in Utah with a net worth of $1.9 billion, has publicly stated that she has known Smith and his wife for some time now and that Smith's genuine interest in acquiring the Jazz resulted in the Miller family giving the organization up for sale.

“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 will continue to move the team to the next level.”

Gail Miller,

Although the full details of the sale haven't been disclosed, it is reported that Smith cashed out $1.6 billion in order to become the new owner of the Utah Jazz and their arena. The sale is yet to be approved by the NBA's board of governors, but as soon as that's done, Smith will become the team's new official governor, with the Miller family retaining a minor stake in the franchise.

The story of Ryan Smith is another one of tech-based entrepreneurs making their dreams come true in order to become NBA owners. A trend we're sure will only get bigger as tech and fin-tech industries have been on a steady rise.

USA guard Kobe Bryant, Spain forward Pau Gasol

Kobe Bryant ran through Pau Gasol’s chest just to send a message

Kobe Bryant wanted to set the tone from the first play, and it didn't matter if he had to pin down a close friend.

Milwaukee Bucks forward Khris Middleton, guard Jrue Holiday, and forward Giannis Antetokounmpo

Three Milwaukee Bucks players on ESPN Top-100 list

Despite popular opinion, Jrue Holiday was ranked higher than Khris Middleton.

Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant

Kevin Durant explains why he made the trade request — “It was a lot of uncertainty around our team last year”

Kevin Durant had a very interesting offseason, and he decided to open up on his decision to request a trade off of the Brooklyn Nets.

Kyrie Irving on why he didn't get a new contract this offseason - I gave up four years, 100-something million to be unvaccinated”

Kyrie Irving on why he didn't get a new contract this offseason - I gave up four years, 100-something million to be unvaccinated”

Irving said that his decision to remain unvaccinated from COVID-19, which prevented him from playing for the Brooklyn Nets, cost him a new contract this offseason

Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic

“I don’t want to disappoint him" - Nikola Jokic credits the person behind his life-changing weight loss

Nikola Jokic has entrusted his career and life to the Nuggets' strength and conditioning coach. And he didn't make a mistake.

Indiana Pacers guard Reggie Miller

“I knew immediately” — Reggie Miller on scoring 8 points in 8.9 seconds against the New York Knicks

Reggie Miller gave Knicks forward Anthony Mason some props for delivering the best chest pass he's ever seen.

Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green

“I don't think it will happen” — Draymond Green on getting a contract extension with the Golden State Warriors

Draymond said he won't let his contract situation get in the way of defending the title. Let's see if he feels the same way when Jordan Poole and Andrew Wiggins get an extension.