New Real Salt Lake owners excited for the team’s future, MLS officials say partnership is ‘the perfect fit’

Jan 6, 2022, 6:42 PM | Updated: 6:43 pm

Liga MX new real salt lake owners...

FILE: Real Salt Lake logo at the entrance of Rio Tinto Stadium. Photo credit: Paul Nelson

SANDY, Utah — News of new ownership is prompting the phrase “a new era” for Real Salt Lake.  On Thursday the new Real Salt Lake owners addressed the media for the first time. They talked about their vision for the club and why they wanted to be the new stewards of the franchise. 

New Real Salt Lake owners are “the perfect fit” said MLS officials

Major League Soccer officials describe the partnership of RSL owners Dave Blitzer and Ryan Smith as “the perfect fit.”  Smith, they said, has a deep love for Utah and wants to see the community improve. 

Related: Group of investors reportedly agree to purchase Real Salt Lake

On the other hand, they said Blitzer has a wealth of experience running professional sports teams. He is part-owner of the Philadelphia 76ers, the New Jersey Devils, and six different soccer clubs in Europe.

Commissioner Don Garber said there was never any consideration given to moving the team to another city.

“We were committed from the very beginning that this team and all the assets around it would stay in Salt Lake,” Garber said.

Related: Real Salt Lake wants you to wear blue for home opener

Blitzer said he has always been a big soccer fan. But his love for the sport grew when he moved to Europe. He currently has part ownership of six European teams and says he was impressed with the growth of Major League Soccer.

So, he wanted to be part of it.

“The reality is that I moved back to America in 2011, and one of the first people that I sought out to meet was Don Garber,” said Blitzer.

Blitzer was looking for someone anchored in Utah

However, none of those discussions felt quite right to Blitzer.  He wanted to form a partnership with someone anchored in Utah before arranging to buy the team.

It was about the right market and the right partner.”

That’s how Utah Jazz owner Ryan Smith came into the picture.  Smith and Blitzer got to know each other through ownership meetings in the NBA, and they both say they were encouraged to form a partnership by their friends and peers. Smith said he had been interested in RSL for a long time, but other business opportunities prevented him from forming a partnership with Blitzer until recently.

“Our ownership group took a look at RSL a year ago,” Smith said. “And two weeks later we were under contract with the Jazz. So, we have been a little busy, but, our love for what RSL brings to this community and the state of Utah has not wavered, at all.”

RSL’s footprint goes global

Smith says he’s excited to have RSL’s global footprint expand with connections to six other clubs in Europe.  Analysts say having two popular teams in one city owned by the same person can expand fanbases.

“Sports are about bringing people together and doing that in a world where it seems like everything takes us apart,” Smith said.

There are still a lot of questions about how the team will be led.  Will the new owners increase spending to attract better players and training staff?  Will there be major changes to team management?  Blitzer says it’s too soon to answer those questions, but they have a good transition team in place.


We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Real Salt Lake

The playing field at American First Field has been replaced with new sod, according to Real Salt La...

Mark Jones

Real Salt Lake will be playing on a new playing field next season

The playing field at American First Field as been replaced by new sod, according to Real Salt Lake officials.

1 year ago

RSL is selling foldable stadium chairs to help raise funds and awareness for ALS....

Jessica Lowell

Real Salt Lake selling stadium chairs to raise money for ALS

RSL is selling foldable stadium chairs to help raise funds and awareness for ALS. The chairs are available during business hours, while supplies last.

2 years ago

The RSL pin with a pink ribbon on it is pictured...

Sam Herrera

New RSL pin will help raise money for breast cancer research

$5 from each RSL pin will go towards the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. The pins are available to purchase at the team store in Sandy or online.

2 years ago

Special Olympics Unified soccer teams compete for championship....

Waverly Golden

Special Olympics Unified soccer teams compete for state championship title

This afternoon Utah’s top 16 Special Olympics Unified soccer teams competed for the state championship title at the RSL soccer stadium.

2 years ago

Real Salt Lake green Jell-O pin...

Sam Herrera

Real Salt Lake pin will raise money for the Utah Food Bank

A new green Jell-O Real Salt Lake pin will raise money to help Utans in need. A portion of the pin's proceeds will go to the Utah Food Bank.

2 years ago

Liga MX Rio Tinto Real Salt Lake...

Mark Jones

Real Salt Lake to raise money for suicide prevention

Long time Real Salt Lake fan Branden Steineckert is helping the team raise funds for suicide prevention.

2 years ago

Sponsored Articles

Young couple hugging while a realtor in a suit hands them keys in a new home...

Utah Association of Realtors

Buying a home this spring? Avoid these 5 costly pitfalls

By avoiding these pitfalls when buying a home this spring, you can ensure your investment will be long-lasting and secure.

a person dressed up as a nordic viking in a dragon boat resembling the bear lake monster...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

The Legend of the Bear Lake Monster

The Bear Lake monster has captivated people in the region for centuries, with tales that range from the believable to the bizarre.


Live Nation Concerts

All the artists coming to Utah First Credit Union Amphitheatre (formerly USANA Amp) this summer

Summer concerts are more than just entertainment; they’re a celebration of life, love, and connection.

Mother and cute toddler child in a little fancy wooden cottage, reading a book, drinking tea and en...

Visit Bear Lake

How to find the best winter lodging in Bear Lake, Utah

Winter lodging in Bear Lake can be more limited than in the summer, but with some careful planning you can easily book your next winter trip.

Happy family in winter clothing at the ski resort, winter time, watching at mountains in front of t...

Visit Bear Lake

Ski more for less: Affordable ski resorts near Bear Lake, Utah

Plan your perfect ski getaway in Bear Lake this winter, with pristine slopes, affordable tickets, and breathtaking scenery.

front of the Butch Cassidy museum with a man in a cowboy hat standing in the doorway...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Looking Back: The History of Bear Lake

The history of Bear Lake is full of fascinating stories. At over 250,000 years old, the lake has seen generations of people visit its shores.

New Real Salt Lake owners excited for the team’s future, MLS officials say partnership is ‘the perfect fit’