Miller Family breaks Legacy Trust to sell majority stake in Utah Jazz
In more basketball news this week, it was announced that The Miller family has entered into an agreement to sell the Utah Jazz
to Qualtrics founder Ryan Smith for US $1.66 billion.
What you may not have seen was the interesting family ownership story behind the Jazz.
Gail Miller, owner of the Larry H. Miller Group of Companies, today announced ownership of the Utah Jazz and Vivint Smart Home Arena have been transferred into a Legacy Trust in order to keep the franchise in Utah for generations. This unprecedented action will help to ensure the Jazz are always a vital part of Utah and represent the state around the world.
“As a family, we have always considered the Utah Jazz a community asset and it has been our privilege to serve as stewards of this team for more than 30 years,” said Miller.
So it was particularly interesting to see only 3 years later that a majority interest had been sold to Smith.
2020 - A New Legacy
When questioned about the reversal of their generational plan, Gail Miller said the following
“Now there’s been a lot of attention given in recent years to my putting the team in a legacy trust,” Miller said. “This was done in connection with my estate plan, with the objective of assuring our loyal fans that the team would remain in Utah. I am fully convinced that with this sale, the objectives of that trust will still be honored, and I want you to know the new owners have made the same commitment to keep the team in Utah.”
Gail Miller and her late husband, Larry, are credited with saving the Jazz in Utah, purchasing control of the team in the mid-1980s when there were fears that the franchise’s financial strife could have caused the team to be sold and moved. The Millers bought 50% of the franchise in May 1985 and acquired the other 50% in 1986 to become principal owners. The family will retain a minority interest in the team.
“There’s no question that we have had a long and rewarding journey these last 35 years,” Miller said, growing emotional as she spoke. “Today is a day I have never been able to imagine.”