(by Josh Furlong ksl.com 1-24-13)
Real Salt Lake team owner and founder Dave Checketts announced Thursday he has sold his majority share of the team.
Checketts, an entrepreneur and real estate developer, sold his majority share of the team to Dell Loy Hansen, who now has complete ownership of the club. The sale has already been approved by the Major League Soccer Board of Governors, but the details about the terms of the sale have not been released, per an agreement with both parties.
"The last eight years have been a labor of love," Checketts said. "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," Checketts continued. "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."
Hansen, who has served as vice chairman and alternate governor for Real Salt Lake, is the president of Wasatch Property Management, Inc.
"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. "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 owns several venture companies in Utah, Idaho and California, employing approximately 900 employees. He owns several sports clubs, a plastic injection and molding company, wood milling company and a golf course in Utah.
Under the ownership of Checketts, Real Salt Lake won the MLS Cup in 2009, which was Utah's first professional title in approximately 40 years, made it to the CONCACAF Champions League Final, had three consecutive seasons with 15 or more wins and had the longest active playoff streak in MLS (2008-2012).
Checketts also worked with state officials to build a stadium for Real Salt Lake, instead of sharing time at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City. Rio Tinto Stadium opened in Sandy in October 2008, and has consistently sold out many games.
Welcome to the RSL Cup blog
I've been a fan of Real Salt Lake since it joined MLS and took to the field in 2005, and I've been a fan of MLS since it began in 1996. Lately however I've started to worry about the path MLS is taking and the poor decisions they are making that in my mind threaten the growth of soccer as a whole in the US. (see "Columbus conspiracy" section) Soccer in America will grow only when we have a vibrant and diverse minor league system, something that MLS seems to be smothering at the moment. (see "American soccer wars" section) Let's keep our eyes on the situation and hope for the best, a future where grass-roots soccer and the minor leagues can not only exist but flourish, as well as where the contributions and history of the league's early clubs are appreciated and preserved.