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Monday, November 21st, 2011 at 9:00 am  |  19 responses

Will the Utah Jazz Be Going on Sale?


by Marcel Mutoni @marcel_mutoni

For the Utah Jazz ownership group, the team is only the fourth-largest revenue generator in their stable of businesses. And depending on how this NBA lockout turns out, they may have to consider selling the franchise.

According to the Deseret News, economics might force the Jazz to go on the market, despite the late team owner’s vehement objections to such a thing:

Everybody wants basketball to be played, not delayed by a labor mess. But even if it brings pro hoops back sooner than later, an unfavorable collective bargaining resolution for Utah could adversely affect the organization as it tries to maintain a tradition of winning despite market-size challenges.

In fact, one source with intimate knowledge of the Larry H. Miller Group of Companies’ inner workings speculated that small-market-related economic hardships could force Jazz ownership to place a “For Sale” sign on the franchise. The source told the Deseret News that the Jazz were expected to report losses in the $17 million range for the 2010-11 season. “If I was a betting man,” the source said, “my guess is that the Millers will sell the team within the next five years, unless this CBA changes the formula so that the team can make some money.”

Others say the Millers will never sell the Jazz. The late Larry H. Miller viewed the Jazz as a “community gift” to Utah. The self-made entrepreneur once put it like this, “Selling the Jazz would be like selling Canyonlands.”

The owners of the Utah Jazz, should they decide to sell, would be in line for enormous gains: the team was bought in 1986 by Larry H. Miller for $24 million. According to Forbes magazine, it’s now worth an estimated $343 million.

Not a bad profit margin for a team that claims to be losing money, huh?

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  • Bt

    There’s the 300 million the owners ‘lost’ last year. Why aren’t the profits on team sales taken into account?

  • anthony y

    Great question..I don’t get it either..

  • SikhWitIt

    Se-a-ttle.

  • Trent

    Seattle Jazz actually has a nice ring to it :)

  • http://slamonline.com tealish

    @Bt — let’s not be silly. Team was bought in 1986.

  • http://www.nba.com VanCityBBall

    i would say another Canadian team like VANCOUVER because we’re ready for basketball but i highly doubt the NBA is :(

  • http://nbasobrietystrike.blogspot.com/ CoolWhip

    I can see the lockout dragging on for years and teams being sold at firesale prices.
    Wouldn’t it be great if you and some friends could pool together $250K and buy the Bucks or Sixers?

  • Jaco

    Never going to happen. UTAH’s fanbase is one of the strongest in the league. there’s not very many bandwagon fans SLC.

    If the Miller’s sell, and that’s a big IF, They would make sure that it is to someone who would keep the team in UTAH. It was Larry H. Miller’s legacy and passion. The LHM group wouldn’t tarnish that. This is simply sensationalist journalism.

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    ^We were told that in Seattle also.

  • Holiday

    Jaco is right, also its very possible if they did decide to sell Dave Checketts might buy them, he also owns Real Salt Lake the MLS team located in Sandy, Utah! But over the years we’ve been the best fans in the league by far. Honestly though if they were relocated I think Vegas is the most likely destination!

  • drugsarerad

    There is no music in Utah.

    Move em.

  • R

    don’t understand the reference to profit margin… if the team actually did lose 17 mill in 10-11 then it’s profit margin is minus 17million… if they sold then their capital gains would be 319 mil.

  • Jaco

    @lakeshow

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m pretty sure that the Seattle fans were told if they could fund a new arena, then the sonics would stay. They wouldn’t do it, so the team left for greener pastures. The ESA is paid for both by private investors and through tax dollars from the people of Utah. In other words, the fans ponied up to keep the jazz in UTAH. This is a prime example of why the team will never leave.

    Now if we were talking about Sacramento or NOLA moving, then you’d have an argument. But not the jazz…

    @drugsarerad

    There are no lakes in LA and no wizards in Washington either… Maybe lay off the rad drugs, mmmkay?

  • ripslam

    Give the Jazz name back to New Orleans, give the team to Seattle.

  • Marco

    Although I’m a born and raised New Yorker, surprisingly the Utah Jazz was the team I fell in love watching when I was a kid. It would be too weird to see the Jazz in Seattle especially given that they were rivals. But then again, nothing lasts forever.

  • Ballislove

    Vancouver would be great, it would be reasonable to have another canadian team since there only is q

  • Ballislove

    *one

  • shutupallenp

    Vancouver was a bust doubt stern is stupid enough to put another team north of the border. I doubt Toronto will still have a team in the next decade. as a disclaimer i have to say i love canada, ehhh. love gravy on my fires and i have a wicked slapshot.

  • sophmore

    i will give you three dollars for them

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