October 8, 2013

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Bringing a second major league sports team into Utah always seemed like an...Read More

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Around Utah
Around Utah



Real Salt Lake Scores Big for Utah

By John Coon | Photography by Eric Delphenich

October 8, 2013

Over time, Hansen gained more control of the team. His share of ownership increased to 62 percent by the fall of 2012. Then, after putting in a sealed bid of $33 million in an attempt to buy out Hansen in December 2012, Checketts changed his mind and finally decided to sell his stake in the team to Hansen.

Becoming sole owner of the team was not a decision Hansen made lightly. He did not have the sports management experience Checketts possessed, so he traveled to San Diego and spent two weeks mulling over what he would do.

“Taking on the full weight of managing the team, beyond investing in the team, was a very profound decision,” Hansen says. “Dave’s greatest passion was managing the team. He profoundly loved managing RSL. That was something I had not had a lot of experience at and so it was a little daunting, to say the least, to come in and take on the delicate task of managing people … in a professional sports industry.”

Hansen finally took the plunge and became Real’s sole owner in January 2013. He has gradually put his stamp on the organization, from upgrading wi-fi capabilities inside the stadium to adding additional food service.

“We’ve worked carefully at making sure everything we do is at a high-quality level,” Hansen says. “That’s a high focus. If we’re going to do a service, let’s do it at a remarkable level not just a mediocre level. That’s part of the RSL experience.”

Hansen anticipates the commitment on these fronts will only increase going forward in order to make RSL synonymous with good soccer at all levels.

“We want the brand of Real Salt Lake to connotate quality, professionalism and passion,” Hansen says. “We don’t want to dilute the brand or cheapen the brand. We want it to be an inspirational brand.”

Hansen says he is as committed to RSL and its success as his predecessor was before him. And with a general manager in Garth Lagerway and a coach in Jason Kreis—both of whom are considered among the best in the game—the future looks bright for Real.

“It’s the name of the game right there,” Manning says. “You can have the best property in the world, but if you don’t have the right people running it, you’re going to run it into the ground.” 

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