Ryan Smith and JJ Watt of Utah Jazz interested in buying Real Salt Lake?


Are Utah Jazz owner Ryan Smith and Arizona Cardinals All-Pro Defensive End JJ Watt considering buying the Major League Soccer franchise Real Salt Lake?

What’s happening?

  • On Monday morning, Watt tweeted that he had just finished training on Jazz’s Zions Bank basketball campus in Salt Lake City and thanked Smith for letting him in.
  • In response to his tweet, someone asked if Watt would buy RSL, which has been on sale since last year.
  • Watt replied, “Tell them to drop the price a bit” before adding “I want to bring the royals back,” referring to the National Women’s Soccer League team Utah Royals FC, which was in Beehive state from 2017-2020. Smith replied to Watt: “Come on … well said.”

Why Ryan Smith, JJ Watt wants to buy Real Salt Lake, Utah Royals FC

  • Utah had an NWSL team, Utah Royals FC, from 2017 to 2020, but it was sold by former owner Dell Loy Hansen and relocated to Kansas City. Hansen also owned Major League Soccer’s RSL and decided to sell it last year after allegations of racism and sexism arose within the RSL organization.
  • Watt tweets a little regularly on topics of interest to Utah football fans, as his wife Kealia played football at Alta High School in Sandy and is now with the Chicago Red Stars of the NWSL, the top women’s professional football league in the United States.
  • Smith was rumored to be the front runner in buying RSL last year, but that was before he bought the Jazz for a reported $ 1.6 billion last fall, and there hasn’t been much ado that he bought RSL since then .
  • After Hansen couldn’t find a buyer for RSL last year, MLS took over the sale of the franchise in January, with Commissioner Don Garber saying he hoped to sell it by the end of 2021.

How much are RSL, URFC worth?

  • The RSL franchise, along with the Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, the Real Monarchs, Real Salt Lake Academy, and other companies, were reportedly valued at around $ 500 million last year when Hansen sold the entire portfolio under Utah Soccer LLC wanted.
  • The price of an NWSL franchise isn’t clear, but it would be fine, way south of that number.
  • Someone (or group of people) could acquire an NWSL franchise in Utah regardless of the sale of RSL. URFC’s terms of sale to a group led by Chris and Angie Long of Kansas City (a group that includes Brittany Matthews, fiancee of the Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes) allow new owners to restore the URFC name and Franchise in 2023.


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