Real Salt Lake founder and owner Dave Checketts (above, right) announced on Thursday that Utah entrepreneur Dell Loy Hansen (above, left) has acquired complete ownership of RSL and the club’s Utah sports properties – including Rio Tinto Stadium.
The transaction was recently approved by the MLS Board of Governors and the terms of the deal were not disclosed, by agreement of both parties.
Hansen, a native Utahn, should already be familiar to RSL fans, having joined the team’s ownership ranks in October 2009, serving as the organization’s vice chairman and alternate governor.
“Just over three years ago, I was very proud to join Dave Checketts in the world of Real Salt Lake and Major League Soccer,” Hansen said in a club statement. “Today, the chance to further deepen my participation in the growth of professional soccer in North America is incredibly exciting. My enthusiasm for this sport started long ago with my family, and now I am proud that our investment now includes the entire Real Salt Lake family – starting with our incredible fan base – as we work together representing the great State of Utah.”
Hansen has worked in the real estate business for 25 years since founding Wasatch Property Management in 1988 and also owns nearly a dozen venture companies in the western United States. In addition to his business interests, he has been a strong proponent of youth sports facilities in Utah.
Checketts is reportedly heading back to New York, where he previously served as the president of Madison Square Garden and the NBA’s New York Knicks. According to The New York Times, he has been named chairman and chief executive of Legends Sports Hospitality Management, a food service and premium ticketing marketing company.
“The last eight years have been a labor of love,” Checketts, who brought a 12th MLS team to Utah in 2004, said in a statement issued by Real Salt Lake. ”When we started I made a promise to build something of meaning; something that people in my home state of Utah could be proud of.
“Real Salt Lake has become much more than a soccer team, and Rio Tinto Stadium much more than a venue. Each has become integrally woven into the fabric of this community and become beloved assets to the people here. It is a legacy that I will forever take pride in, and I am happy to leave it in local hands. I know that Dell Loy will be a tremendous caretaker for the Team, the Stadium and all that both represent.”
RSL have experienced significant success during Checketts’ tenure, becoming the first MLS team to land a jersey sponsorship, opening Rio Tinto Stadium, winning MLS Cup in 2009, reaching the 2010-11 CONCACAF Champions League final and posting the longest active playoff streak in MLS between 2008-12.
“I would like to thank Dave Checketts for his many contributions to both RSL and the League and wish him well as he focuses his efforts on his role as chairman/CEO of Legends,” MLS Commissioner Don Garber said in a statement. “Dave was the first new expansion owner to commit to the League in 2004 and he worked tirelessly to establish RSL as a legitimate and successful regional sports brand and to secure the funding for the construction of Rio Tinto Stadium. Dave was new to the sport when he acquired the expansion team for Salt Lake City. And as anyone who attended a game with Dave knows, the entire Checketts family has grown to be enormously passionate about the sport, MLS and RSL.
“I would also like to thank Dell Loy for his passionate support for the Club since first becoming part of the ownership group in 2009 and look forward to working with him in his new capacity as the sole owner of RSL. Based on the commitment he has already shown, I know that Real Salt Lake is in great hands.”