David Blitzer & Ryan Smith Entertainment Group Purchase Real Salt Lake
SALT LAKE CITY – Major League Soccer’s Board of Governors unanimously approved the sale of Real Salt Lake and the club’s associated properties to David Blitzer and Ryan Smith’s Smith Entertainment Group (SEG), MLS Commissioner Don Garber announced today.
“My wife Ashley and I are 100% committed to the State of Utah. As my partners and I looked to expand SEG, it was clear that Real Salt Lake is an amazing asset for Utah, exemplifies the way we want to invest and be involved here, and David Blitzer is the perfect partner,” said Ryan Smith. “David has world-class soccer experience, is a person of integrity, and has a strong commitment to elevate the organizations and communities he is invested in. There is an incredible soccer community here in Utah from youth and outreach programs to the passionate RSL supporters and fans. We look forward to continuing to work with the region and state to do big things with professional sports.”
Blitzer will serve as Governor for Real Salt Lake with SEG appointed to the alternate Governor role. This transaction includes Rio Tinto Stadium, Zions Bank Training Center, and RSL Academy in Herriman, Utah.
“The combination of David Blitzer and Ryan Smith’s SEG form a dream partnership for Real Salt Lake,” said MLS Commissioner Don Garber. “David and Ryan’s teams have become synonymous with how athletics and community intersect, as they have demonstrated leading world-class organizations outside of professional soccer. Both understand the tremendous value that sports teams bring to a community, and they are deeply committed to Utah. This is a proven ownership group that brings resources and experience to elevate every aspect of the RSL organization.”
In addition to Blitzer and SEG, Arctos Sports Partners, the first institutional investor focused exclusively on taking minority stakes in professional sports franchises and leagues, joins the Real Salt Lake ownership group as a limited partner.
Real Salt Lake has been without ownership since the summer of 2020 following the dismissal of former owner Dell Loy Hansen. Despite the lack of ownership, Real Salt Lake went on a playoff run that concluded with a 2-0 loss at Providence Park against Portland in the Western Conference Final.
Real Salt Lake begins preseason training in Herriman on January 16. The first task for new ownership will be securing a contract for Albert Rusnák who has recently been linked with a move to Seattle Sounders.