New Ownership Interest For Utah Royals FC Could Move Team Out Of State
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Utah Royals FC may never play a game in Utah again, according to a report from The Athletic suggesting the team could be moved back to Kansas City for the 2021 season.
Real Salt Lake, The Monarchs and The Royals are all in the process of being sold after scandal struck owner, Dell Loy Hansen this fall.
According to reports, Hansen has until January 8 to sell Real Salt Lake before Major League Soccer gets involved. Utah Royals FC will not receive the same treatment from the NWSL.
The Potential Royals Buyers
The Long family, Angie, and Chris are based out of Kansas City and want to bring the team back to where they believe it belongs. Chris is the chairman, CEO, and portfolio manager at Palmer Square Capital Management LLC. Angie is the Chief Investment Officer as well as a portfolio manager.
Up until this report surfaced, it was widely speculated that Utah Soccer Holdings were to be sold as a package. Meaning that Real Salt Lake, Utah Royals FC, Real Monarchs, Rio Tinto Stadium, Zions Bank Real Academy and other soccer-related assets of Dell Loy Hansen would be sold together and not separately.
However, with Major League Soccer putting added pressure on Hansen to sell, maybe he is starting to consider private and individual sales for his Utah Soccer Holding assets.
As of now, the only issue for the Long family is finding a venue. The Long family has spoken with Sporting Kansas City who plays their games at Children’s Mercy Park but SKC has no interest in sharing their stadium. The stadium is also used to host Sporting Kansas II, their USL Championship side.
FC Kansas City History
In 2017, Hansen purchased FC Kansas City and relocated the team to Utah. Utah Royals FC was founded with their inaugural season coming a year later in 2018.
Hansen’s purchase of FC Kansas City came following multiple ownership issues within the organization. The club was also experiencing poor fan attendance in 2016, despite in years prior having excellent attendance numbers.
Utah Royals FC has thrived in Utah despite having never qualified for the NWSL playoffs in the three seasons since it was founded. The club averaged over 10,000 fans every game during its inaugural season in 2018. The Royals has also been home to a number of prolific US Women’s National Team players including Becky Sauerbrunn, Christen Press, Amy Rodriguez, and Kelly O’Hara.
Unfortunately, the club has had its challenges in keeping staff, most recently, former manager Craig Harrington who was let go after only being on the sidelines for five games.
Three Options Remain
Furthermore, MLS will interfere and take over the sale of Real Salt Lake on January 8, 2020 but NWSL does not have the resources or ability to exercise a similar protocol.
Utah Royals FC will either stay in Utah, be moved to Kansas City, or fold prior to the 2021 season to give the league more time to assess and relocate the franchise without the stresses and time constraints of an impending season.