Real Salt Lake "won't be folded into" either Harris Blitzer Sports Entertainment or Bolt Football Holdings, instead "existing just as a partnership" under David Blitzer, the Smith Entertainment Group and Arctos Sports Partners, according to Andy Larsen of the SALT LAKE TRIBUNE. It will be Blitzer's personnel who "generally oversees the day-to-day operations of the team, with minority owners in the Smith Entertainment Group, watching and helping from nearby." MLS Commissioner Don Garber "loves the transaction," as Larsen notes there is "no doubt that having RSL in limbo was a pain point for him." Garber said, "I have been trying to get David to invest in Major League Soccer for 10 plus years. I didn't know that it would be in Salt Lake. And the fact that he chose Salt Lake, I think, is a great statement for RSL fans and for this market." Larsen notes there is "reason to believe that Blitzer will invest -- maybe not wildly, but more than" former owner Dell Loy Hansen. Jazz Owner Ryan Smith "envisions opportunities available to ownership now that the Jazz and RSL will be officially friends, not enemies competing for the local sporting dollar." They also "see a chance to collaborate with the international clubs in Blitzer's portfolio." The NWSL Utah Royals were "sold to a couple based in Kansas City," but a contractual stipulation with the league "allowed new RSL ownership the option of re-establishing an expansion franchise with the Utah Royals name in 2023." Blitzer said that the Royals "will be coming back" (SALT LAKE TRIBUNE, 1/6). Inner Circle Sports provided sell-side representation for the deal; no bank was used on the buyers' side (SBJ).
THE REAL DEAL: In Utah, Ryan McDonald notes Blitzer "will serve as governor for RSL," meaning he "will have the final voice at league meetings, with Smith Entertainment Group appointed to the alternate governor role." The transaction includes RSL, MLS NEXT Pro's Real Monarchs, Rio Tinto Stadium and "all related soccer assets in both Sandy and Herriman, including the Zions Bank Training Center and Zions Bank Stadium." The finality of the sale "ends a long, dramatic process that began in August 2020" when Hansen "sharply criticized RSL players on radio for following other athletes around the country by not playing after a shooting by police in Wisconsin of Jacob Blake." Smith, who purchased the Jazz in October '20, "had been reported to have interest in RSL in the early days of the process but had reportedly backed away before getting involved again" (DESERET NEWS, 1/6).