Ryan Smith (businessman)

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Ryan Smith
Born
S. Ryan Smith[1]

1977 or 1978 (age 43–44)
Eugene, Oregon, U.S.
Alma materBrigham Young University
OccupationCofounder and Executive Chairman of Qualtrics
Spouse(s)Ashley Smith
Children5
Parents
  • Scott M. Smith (father)
  • Nancy Smith Hill (mother)

S. Ryan Smith is an American billionaire businessman. He is the executive chairman and cofounder of Qualtrics, an experience management company based in Provo, Utah, United States.[3][4][5] In 2016, he was included in Fortune's "40 Under 40".[6] Ryan Smith is a partial shareholder of two professional sports teams: the Utah Jazz in the NBA and Real Salt Lake in MLS.

In October 2020, Smith agreed to purchase the Utah Jazz from the Miller family for US$1.66 billion,[7][8] and on December 18, the NBA's Board of Governors unanimously approved the transfer of ownership.[9] In January 2022, David Blitzer and Smith Entertainment Group agreed to purchase Real Salt Lake.

Early life and education[edit]

Smith was born in Eugene, Oregon.[4] His father, Scott M. Smith, worked as a university professor and is one of the co-founders of Qualtrics. Ryan's mother, Nancy Smith Hill, holds a Ph.D. in information systems and is an entrepreneur.[10][11] While he was attending Brigham Young University’s Marriott School of Business, he founded Qualtrics with his father, and his brother, Jared Smith. During his junior year he dropped out of school to spend more time working on Qualtrics, though he eventually returned to school and finished his degree in 2016.[4]

Sports team ownership[edit]

Utah Jazz[edit]

On October 28, 2020, Gail Miller announced that Smith had agreed to purchase a majority stake in the Utah Jazz NBA franchise. The purchase agreement also included Vivint Arena, the Salt Lake City Stars of the NBA G League, and management of the Salt Lake Bees.[7][8][12] Miller had previously put the team into a legacy trust with the objective of keeping the Jazz in Utah. As part of the announcement, Miller stated, "I am fully persuaded that with this sale, the objectives of the trust will be honored, and the new owners have made the same commitment to keep the team in Utah."[13]

Real Salt Lake[edit]

Smith, along with New Jersey Devils and Philadelphia 76ers owner David S. Blitzer, were announced as the new majority owners of Major League Soccer club Real Salt Lake in January 2022. The club had been sold by former owner Dell Loy Hansen following controversial comments on civil rights protests by athletes made in 2020.[14] Smith had publicly expressed interest in buying the club as early as September 2020, but delayed further negotiations to instead pursue the Jazz.[15][16]

Wealth[edit]

As of September 2021, Forbes estimated Smith's net worth at $1.6 billion.[2]

Personal life[edit]

Smith is married to Ashley. They live together in Provo, Utah with their five children.[11]

Smith is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints[11] and spent two years in Mexico as a missionary.[17]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Feinauer, Courtney M. "'Trics of the Trade". BYU Magazine. No. Winter 2013. Archived from the original on January 8, 2016. Retrieved October 31, 2020.
  2. ^ a b "Ryan Smith Profile". Forbes. Archived from the original on August 18, 2021. Retrieved September 11, 2021.
  3. ^ Levy, Ari (January 28, 2021). "Utah Jazz owner Ryan Smith made $153 million in Qualtrics IPO a day after his NBA team snagged first place". CNBC. Archived from the original on January 28, 2021. Retrieved January 28, 2021.
  4. ^ a b c Semerad, Tony; Larsen, Andy (October 28, 2020). "What you need to know about Ryan Smith, the new owner of the Utah Jazz". The Salt Lake Tribune. Archived from the original on October 28, 2020. Retrieved October 30, 2020.
  5. ^ Konrad, Alex (October 19, 2018). "Utah Cloud Unicorn Qualtrics Files To Raise Up To $200M In IPO". Forbes. Archived from the original on June 11, 2019. Retrieved October 30, 2020.
  6. ^ "Ryan Smith". Fortune. Archived from the original on April 25, 2017. Retrieved October 30, 2020.
  7. ^ a b "Gail Miller and Family Announce Agreement to Sell a Majority Interest in the Utah Jazz to Qualtrics Founder Ryan Smith". UtahJazz.com (Press release). NBA Media Ventures, LLC. October 28, 2020. Retrieved December 21, 2020.
  8. ^ a b Wojnarowski, Adrian (October 28, 2020). "Sources: Jazz being sold in $1.66B agreement". ESPN.com. Archived from the original on October 28, 2020. Retrieved October 30, 2020.
  9. ^ "NBA approves sale of Jazz to Utah technology entrepreneur". AP NEWS. December 18, 2020. Archived from the original on January 28, 2021. Retrieved January 28, 2021.
  10. ^ Raymond, Art (February 2, 2018). "Qualtrics co-founder Ryan Smith honored as Entrepreneur of the Year". Deseret News. Archived from the original on October 31, 2020. Retrieved October 31, 2020.
  11. ^ a b c Lev-Ram, Michal. "A Unicorn Founder's Big Life Hack". Fortune. Archived from the original on October 14, 2020. Retrieved October 30, 2020.
  12. ^ Stein, Marc (October 28, 2020). "Utah Jazz to Sell Majority Stake to Tech Entrepreneur". The New York Times. Archived from the original on October 29, 2020. Retrieved October 31, 2020.
  13. ^ "Gail Miller and Family Announce Agreement to Sell a Majority Interest in the Utah Jazz to Qualtrics Founder Ryan Smith". www.lhm.com. October 28, 2020. Archived from the original on November 1, 2020. Retrieved November 1, 2020.
  14. ^ McDonald, Ryan (January 5, 2022). "Real Salt Lake sale — with Utah Jazz owner Ryan Smith involved — is official". Deseret News. Retrieved March 2, 2022.
  15. ^ Vejar, Alex (September 19, 2020). "Prospective RSL buyer? Ryan Smith of Qualtrics took tour of team facilities last week, sources say". The Salt Lake Tribune. Retrieved March 2, 2022.
  16. ^ McDonald, Ryan (January 6, 2022). "How the deal for Ryan Smith, David Blitzer to buy Real Salt Lake came together". Deseret News. Retrieved March 2, 2022.
  17. ^ Watson, Carlos (November 29, 2014). "Mormon Mad Men: Hold the Whiskey + Cigarettes". OZY. Archived from the original on May 17, 2021. Retrieved May 30, 2021.