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Sale of Real Salt Lake complete to Blitzer, Smith groups

By Brett Hein - | Jan 5, 2022

Rick Bowmer, Associated Press

In this Sept. 12, 2014, photo, members of the U.S. Women's National team warm up during practice at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy.

More than a year after Dell Loy Hansen announced he would sell Real Salt Lake, Utah’s Major League Soccer team finally has new ownership.

MLS announced Wednesday the approval of RSL’s sale to David Blitzer and Ryan Smith. Blitzer is a co-owner of the Philadelphia 76ers, New Jersey Devils and the Prudential Center arena; Smith, through his Smith Entertainment Group, is the majority owner of the Utah Jazz, Vivint Arena, the Salt Lake City Stars, and 1280 The Zone radio station.

The sale includes the Real Salt Lake and RSL Monarchs teams, Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Zions Bank Stadium and its associated training facility in Herriman, and RSL Academy high school in Herriman.

“The combination of David Blitzer and Ryan Smith’s SEG form a dream partnership for Real Salt Lake,” MLS Commissioner Don Garber said in a news release. “Both understand the tremendous value that sports teams bring to a community, and they are deeply committed to Utah.

“This is a proven ownership group that brings resources and experience to elevate every aspect of the RSL organization.”

Blitzer and Smith constitute RSL’s third ownership group after it was founded by David Checketts (2004-13) and sold to Hansen (2013-2021).

“My family and I are thrilled to partner with Ryan Smith and his SEG team on the acquisition of Real Salt Lake,” Blitzer said in a news release. “Together, we look forward to leveraging our experiences to take Real Salt Lake to even greater heights. Real Salt Lake is a world-class club with an amazing fanbase, strong infrastructure and a longstanding commitment to the Utah community.

“We will work to build upon the legacy and tradition of Real Salt Lake by investing not only in the team and its facilities, but also in the communities our team serves. We have the opportunity to use Real Salt Lake’s unique platform to drive positive change on the pitch, in the local community and across Utah.”

Hansen announced he intended to sell the team in August 2020 after he was accused of racist and sexist behavior, as well as reports that surfaced about toxic workplace culture at RSL.

The league’s statement about the sale also says Arctos Sports Partners joined Blitzer and Smith as a minority owner.

 

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