Ryan Smith & David Blitzer purchase Real Salt Lake

SANDY, Utah — On Wednesday, Major League Soccer’s Board of Governors unanimously approved the sale of Real Salt Lake (RSL) and the club’s associated properties, which includes Rio Tinto Stadium, to Philadelphia 76ers co-owner David Blitzer and Utah Jazz co-owner Ryan Smith’s Smith Entertainment Group (SEG).

Blitzer is also a co-owner of the NHL’s New Jersey Devils. He has invested in European soccer clubs over the past several years, including teams in England’s Premier League and Germany’s Bundesliga.

“The combination of David Blitzer and Ryan Smith’s SEG form a dream partnership for Real Salt Lake,” MLS Commissioner Don Garber said. “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.”

Former RSL owner Dell Loy Hansen announced his intention to sell the team in 2020 after reports about the club’s workplace culture. RSL was founded by Dave Checketts in 2004, and sold to Hansen in 2013 — making Blitzer and SEG the third ownership group in club history.

Utah Jazz owners Ryan Smith (right) and Dwayne Wade (left) at the 2021 Silicon Slopes Summit in Salt Lake City. (Photo: Silicon Slopes)

“My wife Ashley and I are 100% committed to the State of Utah. As my partners and I looked to expand SEG, it was clear that Real Salt Lake is an amazing asset for Utah, exemplifies the way we want to invest and be involved here, and David Blitzer is the perfect partner,” Smith said.  “David has world-class soccer experience, is a person of integrity, and has a strong commitment to elevate the organizations and communities he is invested in. 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.”

RSL made a scrappy run to the Western Conference Final in 2021, after setting a new club record for most consecutive home wins (seven).

“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,” Blitzer said. “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.”

David Blitzer, who is a co-owner of the Philadelphia 76ers and the New Jersey Devils.
David Blitzer. (Photo: NBA)

RSL 2022 timeline:

  • MLS SuperDraft on Jan. 11
  • Preseason training on Jan. 16
  • First regular-season game of 2022 — Feb. 27 at Houston
  • First home game — Mar. 5 vs Seattle
  • Tickets

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