Dave Checketts has sold his interest in Real Salt Lake to minority owner Dell Loy Hansen. Checketts is instrumental in bringing Major League Soccer to Utah nearly a decade ago and battling politicians for a stadium. Checketts brings the sports management experience while Hansen has the fat checkbook. Hansen’s Wasatch Property Management Inc. includes a portfolio worth over $1.2 billion. Still, Checketts created a new way of life out of nothing in the northern Utah city.
Hansen knows the ownership group still has loans to pay off on Rio Tinto Stadium. They will probably operate on a loss again when this season concludes. However, he told the Salt Lake Tribunethat this is about his family and making an investment for them.
I’ve got 10 kids. I’ve got a ton of sports buffs, 19 grandkids. All of those grandkids play soccer. It seems like there’s someone there who will have the energy to do what I will get tired of doing.
Regardless of the change, it seems like the people running the team will still be Garth Lagerwey, Jason Kreis, Bill Manning. Hansen does not seem like the type to impose his will on the decision making. That should make RSL fans very happy.
Checketts was the CEO of Legends Hospitality Management and started an expansion franchise at Rice Eccles Stadium before finding a home in Sandy, Utah. Checketts had a hand in turning around the Utah Jazz. He helped restore order for the St. Louis Blues. Kurt Kragthorpe says he has made an impression that will last in the Utah sports climate.
It is hard to say what Checketts will do now although he serves on the board for JetBlue Airlines and still works with the SCP Worldwide company that he founded. When he signed on as president of the Utah Jazz he was only 28. He was president of the Knicks in 1991 followed by the same role with Madison Square Garden. He has always been ambitious and driven by competition. It is hard to think that he is done with his role in major sports in the U.S. Regardless of where he ends up, he already has an outstanding legacy.