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New owners' financial heft could mean bigger spending for RSL

Real Salt Lake for the past few seasons has "operated on something of a shoestring budget," but that "might change now" with David Blitzer and Ryan Smith owning the franchise, according to Alex Vejar of the SALT LAKE TRIBUNE. Soccer analyst Brian Dunseth said that having Blitzer and Smith leading the way “changes everything,” simply because of "how much more financial resources they can put into the club compared to Dell Loy Hansen’s previous ownership." However, some experts are "cautious about how Blitzer and Smith will affect the future of RSL from a financial standpoint." Some fans might "balk at the fact that Blitzer will not be a quote-unquote local owner." But that is "presumably where Smith comes in -- a Utah native who just bought the biggest sports franchise in the state, and has attempted to improve the community while doing so." Blitzer when asked if he had always anticipated finding a local partner to invest in RSL with him said, “100%.” Of concern to some experts is who among the new RSL owners will "have the final say in decisions." Vejar: "Yes, Smith is the person connected with the state and thus may have more of an emotional investment in the club and the community. But when push comes to shove, financial decisions could rest with Blitzer and what he feels is best investment -- and that may not jibe with what fans want" (SALT LAKE TRIBUNE, 1/7).

RIGHT SITUATION: Smith on Thursday said that he had "interest in buying RSL when it became available in the summer of 2020," but then the opportunity to buy the Jazz soon followed and he "took that instead in the fall of that year." In Utah, Ryan McDonald writes with "some time under his belt," Smith felt it was a "good opportunity to join Blitzer in purchasing the team (the two had gotten to know each other through their NBA involvement)." Both shared that their vision for ownership "goes beyond success on the field," that they want to "make a positive impact in the community." Smith added, “When the opportunity came to do this, to do it with Blitz, we couldn’t be more excited for where this is going to go and we’re excited to invest and put a good product on the field and win. That’s what we’re about" (DESERET NEWS, 1/7).

FOCUS OFF THE FIELD: ESPN.com's Jeff Carlisle wrote the remit of Smith and Blitzer "won't be just about the on-field product." There is an "organizational culture to rehabilitate as well." It helps that interim team President John Kimball has "spent the past 16 months doing just that," meaning that the two new RSL owners will "not be starting from scratch." But there "remains work to do" (ESPN.com, 1/6).

SBJ Spotlight: TikTok’s threat to traditional sports media

While tech companies are consumed with finding ways to compete with TikTok, almost no one in conventional media “spends any time talking about it,” said Recode senior correspondent Peter Kafka in an Spotlight interview with SBJ’s John Ourand. “To me, that’s just an obvious disconnect.” Kafka authored a recent column headlined, “It’s TikTok’s world. Can TV live in it?” He said the main response to TikTok’s growth from traditional media execs has been to “punt and hope it’s someone else’s problem a quarter from now or two years from now.” But Kafka said that ignores the trend of conventional broadcast audiences growing older while a billion younger consumers spend most of their media time watching short video after short video. “If you’re in the business of getting anyone under the age of 30 to look at what you’re putting on a screen, you have to think about the fact that you’re probably asking them to put down TikTok and watch your thing instead,” said Kafka. “That’s a very difficult ask. … [TikTok] is insanely addictive.”

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