Real Salt Lake sale to David Blitzer & Smith Entertainment Group approved by MLS

RSL have been searching for a new owner since late 2020.
RSL have been searching for a new owner since late 2020. / Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

The sale of Real Salt Lake to David Blitzer and Smith Entertainment Group has been approved by Major League Soccer.

RSL have been without a majority owner since January 2021 when MLS took over the sale process from Dell Loy Hansen, who had put the club on the market in August 2020 after allegedly making racist comments.

Blitzer has an existing background in soccer ownership with a stake in Premier League side Crystal Palace, as well as in NBA's Philadelphia 76ers and the New Jersey Devils in NHL. Smith Entertainment Group are led by Ryan Smith and own NBA's Utah Jazz.

MLS approved the sale of Real Salt Lake on Wednesday, with Rio Tinto Stadium, the RSL Academy, the club's MLS NEXT Pro team Real Monarchs, and the Zion Bank Training Center all included in the takeover.

“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 joint league and club statement.

“David and Ryan’s teams have become synonymous with how athletics and community intersect, as they have demonstrated leading world-class organizations outside of professional soccer.

"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 will address the media on Thursday but offered an insight into their intentions within the initial statement.

“Real Salt Lake is a world-class club with an amazing fanbase, strong infrastructure and a longstanding commitment to the Utah community," said Blitzer.

"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. We are excited and honored to be a part of what the future holds.”

Smith added: "There is an incredible soccer community here in Utah from youth and outreach programs to the passionate RSL supporters and fans. We look forward to continuing to work with the region and state to do big things with professional sports.”