KSLSPORTS FEED

Report: NHL Commissioner Met With Jazz Owner Ryan Smith

Mar 31, 2023, 5:10 PM

SALT LAKE CITY – Utah Jazz owner Ryan Smith recently met with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman according to Elliotte Friedman, a leading hockey insider for SportsNet Canada.

The article written by Friedman detailed the interest between the NHL and the Jazz’s Smith after the NBA’s board of governors meeting last Tuesday in New York.

“That night, according to multiple sources, Bettman had dinner with Ryan Smith, owner of the Utah Jazz,” Friedman wrote. “This is one to watch. When Fenway bought the Penguins, Smith was rumoured as another potential purchaser. Obviously, that didn’t happen, but I was told to keep his name on my radar, because he’s interested in the NHL — and the NHL is very interested in him.”

Last October, Smith announced Arctos Sports Partners was buying a minority share in the Smith Entertainment Group (SEG), the entity that owns the Jazz, and hoped to bring a third professional sports team to the state of Utah.

Smith didn’t reveal which major sports league the group was eyeing, but sources told KSL Sports that the NHL was the league most likely to leave to expand into the state.

“A very, very sharp guy, [Smith] and New Jersey Devils co-owner David Blitzer are majority partners in MLS Real Salt Lake and, earlier this month, announced the return of a NWSL franchise to the city,” Friedman added.

“Salt Lake City hosted the excellent 2002 Winter Olympics and is considered the favourite to do it again in 2030. That could lead to new facilities, including a future home for the NBA team and an NHL brother.”

A private equity firm, Arctos launched in 2019 and has built more than $5 billion in assets through the Artcos Sports fund. The company specializes in investing in passive minority stakes in professional sports franchises whose value appreciates faster than traditional stock investments.

Arctos already owns minority shares in three NBA teams including the Golden State Warriors, Sacramento Kings, and the Philadelphia 76ers, several MLB teams including the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Chicago Cubs, and the Boston Red Sox, Liverpool FC of the English Premiere League, various NHL teams, and Real Salt Lake.

“We believe in Utah and all the amazing things happening in the state and we believe SEG is poised to be the next big sports and entertainment group,” Chad Hutchinson of Arctos Sports said in the August release.

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Ben Anderson is the Utah Jazz insider for KSL Sports and the co-host of Jake and Ben from 10-12p with Jake Scott on 97.5 The KSL Sports Zone. Find Ben on Twitter at @BensHoops or on Instagram @BensHoops.

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Report: NHL Commissioner Met With Jazz Owner Ryan Smith