SBD/November 21, 2011/Franchises

NBA Lockout Watch, Day 144: Source Says Millers Might Have To Sell Jazz

The Jazz were expected to report losses in the $17M range for the '10-11 season
Small-market-related economic hardships "could force Jazz ownership to place a 'For Sale' sign on the franchise," according to a source cited by Jody Genessy of the DESERET NEWS. The source said that the Jazz were "expected to report losses in the $17 million range for the 2010-11 season." The source: "If I was a betting man, 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 said that the Millers "will never sell the Jazz." To make matters "worse for Jazz ownership, the Miller Motorsports Park has been a consistent money loser since opening in 2006." The source said that the Larry H. Miller Group of Companies' TV and radio stations -- KJZZ and KFAN -- "have also taken significant losses, cutting into profits made by the Millers' movie theaters and Fanzz stores." The Millers' "biggest moneymaker and original raison d'etre -- the car dealerships -- continue to bring in big bucks." However, the source said that the "40-plus new and used auto lots saw their profits fall more than 50 percent in a recent three-year period." For years, the Millers "have considered the Jazz's financial losses 'a cost of doing business.'" Because of his team's "predicament, Miller has been labeled as a hawk in the ongoing negotiation process" for a new CBA. Though Miller "isn't directly involved with the NBA's labor relations committee, his hawk designation suggests the Jazz boss is among the hard-line owners pushing to drive a tough bargain with the players." But the Jazz were "not one of 10 teams who co-signed a letter to the NBA voicing opposition to the 50-50 revenue split Stern most recently offered before players disbanded their union and filed antitrust lawsuits" (DESERET NEWS, 11/21).
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