SBD/January 25, 2013/Franchises

Checketts Sells Majority Stake In Real Salt Lake; Now Plans To Solely Focus On Legends

Checketts said he now will dedicate his time to his role as Legends Chair & CEO
Legends Chair & CEO Dave Checketts on Thursday announced that he had "sold his interest in Real Salt Lake to the team's minority owner Dell Loy Hansen," according to a front-page piece by Aaron Falk of the SALT LAKE TRIBUNE. Hansen "purchased 49 percent of the club in November 2009, just days before RSL won the MLS Cup." Hansen with the sale now is the "sole owner of SCP Worldwide’s sports properties in Utah, which includes RSL, Rio Tinto Stadium and ESPN 700." Hansen said, "We now know we’ve got more opportunities in the acquisition world. It’s always been difficult to look at the cost of competing with an L.A. or New York or Chicago. I think we open that door." Falk reports the MLS club is a year away from "operating in the black." However, Hansen said that he "believes RSL and Major League Soccer are trending in the right direction." He "views the purchase as a 'family asset,' something he might pass on to someone else in five years." Hansen sees himself as a "hands-on owner, but not an executive who will meddle with day-to-day management of the team." He said that he has "no plans to alter the triumvirate of RSL president Bill Manning, general manager Garth Lagerwey and coach Jason Kreis" (SALT LAKE TRIBUNE, 1/25). Checketts said that he now will "dedicate more of his time to his role as chairman and CEO of Legends Hospitality Management, a merchandising and ticketing company that was founded by the New York Yankees, Dallas Cowboys, Goldman Sachs and CIC Partners." He said, "Eight years ago, I had the opportunity of a lifetime to create something of meaning for my hometown and state. Looking back, I believe we have achieved something great" (DESERET NEWS, 1/25).

CHECKETTS' EFFECT: In Salt Lake City, Kurt Kragthorpe writes Checketts can "walk away from his ownership of Real Salt Lake with pride and satisfaction." The sale to Hansen should "meet Checketts’ goal to 'uncomplicate' his life and reduce his worries." He is "free to live happily in Connecticut without agonizing about what’s happening on the scoreboard in Sandy." Checketts "delivered a championship to his home state -- with a franchise that’s thriving far beyond anyone’s expectations, playing in a spectacular stadium that Checketts overcame all kinds of political battles and funding issues to get built, and being administered by an MLS model front-office operation." Kragthorpe: "Mix in his work in 1980s with the Jazz, turning a joke of a franchise into a stable, highly respected organization, and Checketts created a remarkable legacy, stretched over 30 years in two phases of his Utah-based career. He’d make any all-time list of the 10 most influential people -- athletes, coaches, owners and executives -- in Utah pro sports" (SALT LAKE TRIBUNE, 1/25).
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MLS, Real Salt Lake, Soccer, Franchises

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