Real Salt Lake has a new owner after Dave Checketts, the club's founder who brought Major League Soccer to Utah and built Rio Tinto Stadium, sold the club to minority owner Dell Loy Hansen for an undisclosed sum. Hansen bought 49% of the club from Checketts in 2009 and has now purchased the rest of the club, becoming the sole owner of the 2009 MLS Cup champions.
Checketts bought an expansion club in 2003 and within a year, Real Salt Lake were playing their first games. Originally, the club played at Rice Eccles Stadium, home of the 2002 Winter Olympics opening and closing ceremonies, but primarily the home to Utah football. It was a hard, turf field and far too big for RSL.
After years of wrangling, though, Checketts got Riot Tinto Stadium built in the Salt Lake City suburb of Sandy, ushering in a new era for RSL. Garth Lagerwey was hired just before the stadium opened to be the club's general manager and Jason Kreis was tabbed as the new manager. With the two in charge, RSL built one of the best teams in MLS, winning a MLS Cup and advancing to the CONCACAF Champions League final.
Hansen is a Utah real estate developer, who made headlines several years ago when he got into a public physical altercation with then Salt Lake City mayor Rocky Anderson. Angry with Anderson, Hansen charged the mayor and made contact, pushing Anderson back. Anderson then told Hansen, "I'll kick your ass" before the two were separated. This has absolutely no bearing on Hansen's ability to adequately steer the ship at RSL, but it makes it likely that he and Jason Kreis will get along.