SANDY, Utah — The new owners of Real Salt Lake say fans needn't worry about the future of their favorite MLS club. The foundation that brought success to Rio Tinto Stadium will be improved upon, not torn down.
David Blitzer and Ryan Smith were officially introduced as the team's owners Thursday and shared their vision as stewards of a franchise with a passionate fan base throughout Utah.
"Our love for what RSL brings to this community and the state of Utah has not wavered at all," said Smith.
As owner of the Utah Jazz, Smith's participation in the new ownership group was the key for Blitzer, as well as MLS officials who were steadfast in keeping the team in Utah.
"I could assure you that the level of care and commitment you'll see to Real Salt Lake for this community and for this state is going to be evident in everything this new ownership group will do," said MLS Commissioner Don Garber.
A former high school soccer player whose love of the game only increased while living in Europe, Blitzer is part-owner of iconic soccer clubs such as Crystal Palace and FC Augsburg. But Real Salt Lake is his first foray into MLS and he claims to have a simple mentality when it comes to joining the league.
"Don't try to figure it out in a day. Don't try to figure it out in 100 years. Learn and just don't knee-jerk react," Blitzer said.
The New Jersey native said he's been coming to Utah to ski for over 40 years and said the state isn't a hidden jewel, but simply a jewel he's ready to invest in.
Both Smith and Blitzer said Real Salt Lake's current management team will remain in place, especially after last season in which the team made a deep run into the playoffs.
"We just made the Western Conference Finals," remarked Blitzer. "We have a great team. We have an incredible infrastructure, and we're extremely competitive and we're going to be proud of the team that we put out on the pitch."
Along with RSL, the new owners say they are also interested in bringing the Utah Royals FC women's team back to the Beehive State.
"This is a when, not if," added Blitzer.