SBD/Issue 43/Franchises

Dave Checketts In Advanced Talks To Sell 49% Of Real Salt Lake

Source Says Checketts, Group
Like Idea Of "Local Partner"
MLS Real Salt Lake (RSL) Owner Dave Checketts is in "advanced" talks with Utah-based real estate developer Dell Loy Hansen about selling 49% of the MLS franchise, according to a front-page piece by Edward & Palmer of the DESERET NEWS. The deal has not been finalized, but Hansen said "there is a deal in principle." It still requires approval from the FCC, MLS and lenders. Hansen, who is President of Wasatch Property Management, said, "We're just looking forward to finishing the approvals." While RSL would not comment on the sale price, Edward & Palmer note MLS expansion franchises have recently been valued at $40M, while RSL's newly-constructed Rio Tinto Stadium cost $110M. Sandy (UT) Mayor Tom Dolan said that city officials "have been aware of the proposed purchase and are excited about the potential of having a local owner" (DESERET NEWS, 11/11). In Salt Lake City, Michael Lewis cites RSL sources as saying that "all of the proceeds from the sale will remain" with the franchise, and are "not tied to Checketts' effort to buy" the Rams. The sources claim that the sale does not indicate RSL is "facing financial problems," but rather is designed to "strengthen the financial position" of the team, Rio Tinto Stadium and KALL-AM, owned by Checketts' SCP Worldwide. Lewis notes Checketts and his ownership group "have grown to like the idea of a 'local partner,' especially after including one in their ownership" of the Blues. Meanwhile, Hansen told weekly Salt Lake City business newspaper The Enterprise that he "plans to 'brand' many of his real estate holdings ... by decorating them with RSL flags and banners and offering game tickets for sale." He added that his company also will "sponsor housing for 20 players and staff members" (SALT LAKE TRIBUNE, 11/11).

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