Jazz Sale Is A Hopeful  Sign For Business As Usual In The Future

Smith wants to buy the team he rooted for as a child.

Ryan Smith believes that buying a National Basketball Association franchise in Salt Lake City, Utah is a pretty good investment. Smith, who built a computer software company and sold it for about $8 billion, is ready to sink $1.6 billion into a deal to buy the Jazz from Gail Miller and her family. The NBA Board of Governors has to approve the deal. But the sale may prove that the NBA will still be a viable business after the COVID-19 pandemic ends. Right now, the Miller family and Smith have no notion as to when the 2020-2021 season will start and even if they get a start date, there is no indication that the NBA will be more than a television show as no one seems to know when customers will be allowed to attend games in Salt Lake City. At present, the spread of COVID-19 is out of control in Utah, transmission rates are high and hospitals are running out of space.

Smith is buying into a product that will have two major business hurdles when things return to pre-pandemic normal and that might not happen for the NBA until the 2022-2023 season. The National Basketball Association and its broadcast partners TV deal ends in 2025. The NBA and the National Basketball Players Association will need to negotiate a new collective bargaining agreement sometime soon. Smith gets the basketball team, the arena, the Salt Lake City Stars of the NBA G League and a minor league baseball team, the Pacific Coast League’s Triple A Salt Lake Bees a Los Angles Angeles of Anaheim farm team. for his money. In 1990, then Jazz owner Larry Miller decided to spend $93 million to build an arena for his NBA team and his minor league hockey team. The Salt Lake Golden Eagles which moved to Detroit in 1994.

Utah Jazz forward Jeff Green, right, defends against Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James, left, as he drives to the basket in the first half during an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2019, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)