SANDY, Utah – Real Salt Lake Founder Dave Checketts announced today that Utah entrepreneur and real estate developer Dell Loy Hansen has acquired complete ownership in the club’s Utah sports properties – Real Salt Lake of Major League Soccer (MLS), Rio Tinto Stadium and ESPN700 Sports Talk Radio. The transaction – also involving other minority partners – was recently approved by the Major League Soccer Board of Governors. Terms were not disclosed, by agreement of both parties.
Since joining the RSL ownership ranks in October 2009, Mr. Hansen, has served as Vice Chairman and Alternate Governor for Real Salt Lake, working closely with Mr. Checketts, RSL President Bill Manning and the management team regarding the direction and strategy of each business unit, as well as the potential real estate development around Rio Tinto Stadium.
“Just over three years ago, I was very proud to join Dave Checketts in the world of Real Salt Lake and Major League Soccer,” said Mr. Hansen. “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.”
Mr. Hansen, President of Wasatch Property Management, Inc., is a lifelong Utah resident with deep roots in Cache Valley. His passion to build youth athletic facilities led to the creation of the Sports Academy in North Logan fourteen years ago. Many truly outstanding swimmers, soccer and tennis players have developed their skills at Sports Academy. Personal success is at the root of the Academy experience and reflects Mr. Hansen’s core values.
Under former Utah Gov. Michael Leavitt, Hansen served nine years on the State’s Board of the Department of Business and Economic Development, two of those years as Chairman. During that time he came to appreciate the great business opportunities that exist in Utah.
Mr. Hansen founded Wasatch Property Management, Inc. in 1988 and has served as the company’s President since its inception, with corporate headquarters located in Logan, Utah. Wasatch currently employs approximately 600 employees, managing 52 multi-family residential communities with approximately 12,000 apartment units, 5 condominium developments, and 20 commercial buildings with 2.4 million of rental square footage throughout the western United States. Wasatch and its affiliated investor-owned entities maintain a real estate portfolio in excess of $1.2 Billion.
Mr. Hansen is also an owner in nearly a dozen venture companies, with approximately 900 employees located across Utah, Idaho and California. The companies range from a recycling and waste disposal company in Sacramento, California; several sports clubs throughout Utah and Idaho, a plastic injection & molding company, wood milling company and a golf course in Utah; and one of the largest utility management and billing companies in the United States.
“The last eight years have been a labor of love,” said Mr. Checketts, who formally brought Major League Soccer’s 12th team to Utah in July, 2004. “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. 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.”
During the eight years of Checketts’ leadership, Real Salt Lake built a club around the basic tenet that “The Team is the Star,” accomplishing numerous milestones as the foundation for world-class sports and entertainment found a home on the Wasatch Front. Highlights include:
- First MLS team with jersey-front sponsorship (Utah-based XanGo, Nov., 2006)
- Opening of Rio Tinto Stadium in October 2008
- MLS Cup 2009, Utah’s first professional title in nearly 40 years
- CONCACAF Champions League Final – furthest advancement for MLS side (April 2011)
- 95% capacity for RSL games in 2012; 11 out of 20 games were sellouts, including final six consecutive regular-season matches
- Longest active playoff streak in MLS (five years, 2008-2012)
- Three consecutive seasons with 15 or more wins
“I would like to thank Dave Checketts for his many contributions to both RSL and the League and wish him well as he focuses his efforts on his role as Chairman/CEO of Legends,” MLS Commissioner Don Garber said. “Dave was the first new expansion owner to commit to the League in 2004 and he worked tirelessly to establish RSL as a legitimate and successful regional sports brand and to secure the funding for the construction of Rio Tinto Stadium. Dave was new to the sport when he acquired the expansion team for Salt Lake City. And as anyone who attended a game with Dave knows, the entire Checketts family has grown to be enormously passionate about the sport, MLS and RSL.
“I would also like to thank Dell Loy for his passionate support for the Club since first becoming part of the ownership group in 2009 and look forward to working with him in his new capacity as the sole owner of RSL. Based on the commitment he has already shown, I know that Real Salt Lake is in great hands.”
About Real Salt Lake
In July of 2004, Utah native and sports business visionary Dave Checketts announced that the dream of bringing world-class soccer to the Beehive State had come to fruition, as Major League Soccer’s 12th franchise – later known as Real Salt Lake – was born. Since its inception, RSL has steadily grown to become a perennial contender for domestic and international trophies, all while cultivating a vibrant and knowledgeable soccer culture in the Intermountain West.
Real Salt Lake’s on-field accolades include wining the squad’s first MLS Cup title in 2009, the first championship for a Utah-based professional team in nearly 40 years; placing in three of the last five Conference Championship rounds during the MLS Cup Playoffs; and a groundbreaking run to the Finals of the 2010/11 CONCACAF Champions League, North America’s club championship tournament. RSL continues to impress off the field as well, establishing more ties to the Wasatch Front in 2009 through the addition of Utah-based entrepreneur Dell Loy Hansen to the ownership group, garnering the Salt Lake Chamber’s prestigious “President’s Award” for excellence in small business in 2010 and regularly filling the club’s gleaming, 20,000-seat home of Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, where the club has dominated the opposition since its opening in fall 2008. Following a 2012 season that saw the team amass club-record totals in wins (17), points (57), goals (46) and road performance, selling out 11 of the 20 games and playing before nearly 95% capacity, RSL President Bill Manning was honored as the recipient of the 2012 MLS Doug Hamilton Award, given annually to the League’s Executive of the Year.
About Rio Tinto Stadium
Rio Tinto Stadium is a state-of-the-art, sports and entertainment facility in Utah, providing a stunning new home for world-class events, one with breathtaking views of both the Oquirrh and Wasatch Mountain ranges. Rio Tinto Stadium opened its doors for the first time on October 9, 2008, with Real Salt Lake Major League Soccer action televised before an international audience. The venue’s first-ever concert event featured legendary rockers The Eagles on May 9, 2009. Other acts have included Sir Paul McCartney, Neil Diamond, Kenny Chesney and KISS.
The Stadium was recently selected as one of 13 venues for the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup tourney, previously hosting marquee events such as the 2009 MLS All-Star Game, a United States Men’s National Team FIFA World Cup Qualifier vs. El Salvador and the 2011 CONCACAF Champions League Final. Rio Tinto Stadium is a new class of venue in the Intermountain West, attracting events that would not otherwise visit Utah and bolstering the state's reputation as an international sports and entertainment destination. The diversity of events attracted to Rio Tinto Stadium brings significant media attention, positively impacts tourism efforts and creates numerous job opportunities on both permanent and seasonal bases. In March, 2008, the Stadium was recognized by Forbes.com as one of “10 New Super-Stadiums” in development worldwide.
Located in Sandy, Utah, at the heart of the Wasatch Front, Rio Tinto Stadium is conveniently accessed from major transportation arteries Interstate-15 as well State Street, between 9000 South and 9400 South. The venue resides just 15 minutes from downtown Salt Lake City and 25 minutes from SLC International Airport. The venue seats 20,213 people for various sporting events, including Real Salt Lake games, with capacity rising to 25,000 for concerts and other events. Stadium amenities include 32 luxury suites, a 2,000-square foot Stadium Club, 1,000 club seats, five locker rooms, a 60-foot Video Board, and ribbon LED boards on both the east and west fascia.
About ESPN 700 Sports Radio
Kicking off each day with ESPN Radio’s “Mike & Mike in the Morning” from 4:00-7:00 a.m. MT, ESPN 700 Sports Radio continues with “The Dan Patrick Show” LIVE from 7:00 a.m.–10:00 a.m. MT. “The Herd with Colin Cowherd” airs from 10:00-11:00 a.m. before ESPN Radio’s “Scott Van Pelt Show” goes live from 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. MT. Local “ESPN 700 SportsCenter” breaks are featured throughout the national programming, prior to the “Bill & Hans Show” – featuring long-time Utah voice Bill Riley and former NFL & BYU football player Hans Olsen delving deep into the issues of the day from 2:00-6:00 p.m. MT. ESPN 700 is the longtime “Home of the Utes,” providing the call for every University of Utah football and men’s and women’s basketball contest, and also serves as the flagship station of 2009 MLS Cup champion Real Salt Lake.