Paul M. Banks talks with Utah Jazz President Randy Rigby
Randy Rigby has been president and chief operating officer of Larry H. Miller Sports & Entertainment Group of Companies since his appointment to the position in July of 2007. According to the profile on his organizationâ€™s website, â€œRigby sets the strategic goals for the franchise as well as analyzes future growth opportunities.Â On a day-to-day basis, he leads the senior management team responsible for overseeing the Utah Jazz, Salt Lake Bees, EnergySolutions Arena, KJZZ-TV, the new Fan Super Sports Network which includes KFAN and ESPN radio, All-Star Catering, Fanzz retail sports apparel stores and LHM Advertising.â€
He also serves as an alternate on the NBA Board of Governors, with past experience on the board and as president of the Utah Broadcasters Association as well as the NBA Broadcasting Advisory Board.
The Jazz are coming off back-to-back Northwest Division titles and reached the Western Conference Finals in 2007. Most NBA prognosticators see them taking the division again this year. They possess two players among the very best at their respective positions in 2008 Team USA members Deron Williams and Carlos Boozer. I asked Rigby about what to look for from his team this season.
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â€œThereâ€™s no question that weâ€™ve got a young team, and weâ€™re very excited about how Carlos and Deron along with the rest of our players have been performing. Ronnie Brewer has had a great season coming out of his rookie season to complement the other players growing and developing and coming up this season,â€ he responded.
I later asked him about how the Salt Lake City community, one of the smallest markets in the NBA has responded to the Jazz recent revitalization. â€œOur team is playing very well, the market is being very supportive of the quality of basketball weâ€™re providing. Increase in our ticket sales. Our average paid attendance in among the best in the NBA,â€ he replied.
According to a Forbes.com study from last year, the Jazz were ranked #16 in NBA team value at $342 million. This is a fiscal world away from the franchiseâ€™s rough beginnings. Before moving to Utah in 1979, the Jazz suffered financially from a substandard arena lease and net losses totaling $5 million during their 5 seasons in New Orleans. But tut today the ledger shows lots of black and little to no red. Even more solvent than in the era when the Jazz were led by another star point guard-power forward combination in John Stockton and Karl Maloneâ€¦
Â â€œIâ€™ve been with the team 24 years, as you rebuild a team there are some down times but weâ€™ve come comeback as strong if not stronger than we were in the 90s. Weâ€™ve continued to grow, we just had an all-time record number of sponsorships, more sponsors than even in the Stockton-Malone era. Weâ€™re selling out the arena again. From that aspect weâ€™ve been able to come back,â€ Rigby stated.