In a rare move among major sports franchises, the Miller family has announced that ownership of the Utah Jazz will be transferred to a Legacy Trust. The decision also effectively transfers ownership of Vivint Smart Home Arena, the home of the Jazz.
Announced on Monday, the transfer of ownership comes after the Miller family and The Larry H. Miller Group of Companies have made steps to keep the Jazz in Salt Lake City. Perhaps the most prominent decision made in recent months is the forthcoming $125 million renovation to Vivint Smart Home Arena that is expected to be completed by the 2017-2018 NBA season.
Gail Miller, the owner and chairman of The Larry H. Miller Group of Companies, announced the decision.
“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,” Miller said a in statement. “There have been many opportunities to sell and move the franchise, but from the day Larry and I purchased the Jazz our goal was to keep the team in Utah. The Legacy Trust will help to ensure this commitment is kept for generations to come.”
The terms of the transfer include directions for the trust to direct all profits generated by the Jazz back into the franchise. In addition, it was also revealed how the trust will be controlled over time. More from The Salt Lake Tribune:
She will serve as the trustee, and eventually will cede control of the franchise to a six-person board of managers, composed of members of her family.
“It is as close as possible to there being perpetual ownership of a professional sports team,” son Greg Miller said.
The board of managers will need either a majority or a supermajority, depending on the nature of the business, to make future decisions for the franchise, attorney and former Utah Jazz President Dennis Haslam said.
Officials said the formation of the trust means all profits from the NBA franchise will be reinvested in the team so that the “trust will not provide any material benefit to the family from the Jazz.”
“It stays within the company,” Haslam said. “The profit that stays in the company will be used basically as retained earnings for expansion, for player salaries or other operations.”
Gail Miller and her late husband Larry Miller originally purchased 50% of the Jazz in 1985. They purchased the franchise outright the following year, amidst talks that the Jazz would be sold to another group and relocated to Minneapolis.