Utah Jazz owner Ryan Smith: CNBC interview

Utah Jazz owner Ryan Smith: CNBC interview

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Gail Miller, Owner and chair of the Larry H. Miller Group of Companies and the Utah Jazz, revealed today they have actually participated in conclusive arrangements to offer a bulk interest in the Utah Jazz and other sports to innovation business owner Ryan Smith.

Melissa Majchrzak | National Basketball Association | Getty Images

Subscribe to CNBC Pro to checked out the complete Q&A with Qualtrics CEO and brand-new Utah Jazz owner Ryan Smith.

Ryan Smith, the brand-new owner of the Utah Jazz, states he’s still not exactly sure what kind of owner he’s going to be, however he currently understands his focus will be on improving fan and gamer experiences.

Smith, 42, formally got in the sports ownership fraternity after the National Basketball Association authorized his $1.6 billion purchase of the Jazz on Friday. The Qualtrics co-founder and CEO will presume last decision-making for service and basketball operations for the group.

The brand-new ownership group likewise includes Atlassian co-founder Mike Cannon-Brookes and Ryan Sweeney of equity capital company Accel as minority partners.

In an interview with CNBC Pro’s “A View from the Top,” Smith stated he does not prepare to remain behind the scenes. Still, unlike other NBA owners, running the Jazz will not be his full-time task. Qualtrics is spinning off from SAP early next year, less than 2 years after the German software application huge got the business. Smith states he anticipates it to be “a big company.”

“I think that I’m going to be hands on,” Smith informed CNBC’s Alex Sherman. “But we have phenomenal leadership. We have Dennis Lindsey, a world class general manager, and Quin Snyder, who is one of the best coaches in the league. There are some owners that this is all they do full time. And that’s not me. I’m still very, very much involved in Qualtrics.”

Before his purchase of the Jazz, Smith stated he checked out purchasing a number of NBA franchises, consisting of the Minnesota Timberwolves. Chatter amongst sports lenders knowledgeable about that procedure recommend Timberwolves owner Glenn Taylor is thinking about keeping the group in the meantime.

“There are a couple of minority pieces that are still out there,” Smith stated of smaller sized NBA group ownership stakes. “You’ll see them come around.”

Smith stated he talked with other NBA owners with innovation backgrounds prior to making the purchase, consisting of Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and Los Angeles Clippers owner Steve Ballmer, previously Microsoft’s CEO. Both are amongst the most noticeable group owners at NBA video games. Like Cuban and Ballmer, Smith stated he prepares to continue to sit courtside.

“I had a unique view because I’ve talked to Mark five different times, or a couple times, throughout the years on this,” Smith stated. “And I’ve gotten to know a lot of the other owners in the league already just because it’s where my passion has been. But they’ve given me different advice. No one has ever said particularly this is how you have to do it. Everyone has their own style.”

Smith stated he feels his basketball insight will assist the Jazz much better line up with an innovation and social media-driven league.

“I understand basketball,” he stated. “I get basketball. I play basketball three days a week. There’s the basketball side and the business side. Each one is equally interesting to me. One from an experience standpoint and one from understanding.”

Asked what Jazz fans can anticipate from his ownership, Smith reacted: “They’ll see it. They already see it. They know me — a lot of them do.”

“All I’m doing is switching seats,” Smith stated of the courtside seats beside previous owner Gail Miller. “But I have to make payroll now.”

Read the whole CNBC Pro interview with Ryan Smith.

SEE: Here’s what influenced Ryan Smith to end up being owner of the Utah Jazz

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