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SANDY — Often when a sports organization undergoes a change in ownership, many changes can occur, but Real Salt Lake fans can rest assured its most recent ownership change won't bring any changes they don't want to see.
Dell Loy Hansen, a real estate developer and the new sole owner of the Major League Soccer Real Salt Lake club, Rio Tinto Stadium and ESPN700 Sports Talk Radio, brings a unique change to the club as its new owner.
- Hansen is no stranger to the Claret and Cobalt. Hansen has been a part owner in the club for the last three years after accepting the invitation from former majority owner Dave Checketts to assist in the team's financial responsibility. Because of Hansen's integration into the club three years ago, he knows the Salt Lake club's vision and what Checketts has worked so hard to build since the young expansion team began. "Eight years ago I had the opportunity of a lifetime to help build something for my hometown and home state," Checketts told the local media during a press conference Thursday. "At that time I made a promise to everyone that I'd build something of meaning, something that would have meaning to the community and to fans and to the people of Utah." Hansen accepted the challenge Checketts has passed to him to continue his vision. "While it's been challenging to get us through this last three years, the ride has been worth it and I take the challenge to take the platform that has been so artfully put together by Dave. It's humbling, but I'm going to try," said Hansen.
- Hansen, a life-long Utahn, has no plans to move the team, which can happen oftentimes with ownership changes. Hansen told the media he wants to keep the Salt Lake team the player it has become in the league. "We are identified by headlines — I've cut them out of the paper: ‘RSL crushes New York', ‘L.A. falls to Real Salt Lake.' So when you take this small market in Salt Lake City and you hit the West Coast in San Jose, L.A., Seattle, Portland, Vancouver and you constantly are a winning team against these other markets that hit the local press. Salt Lake's not just a wannabe player, they're the player, and your professional sports help establish those community sentiments," said Hansen.
- Hansen brings a deeper financial future to Real Salt Lake than its former majority owner, and with that, more acquisitions could be possible for the Salt Lake club. "We've got more opportunities in the acquisition world," Hansen told the media. "To look at the cost of competing with L.A., New York and Chicago, I think we open that door."
- Hansen wants to keep the connection between the fans and the club as it is. "Part of our culture is the connection to the fans," said Hansen. "The intensity of this fan base is just amazing and it just is a pride I know in Dave's heart and mine to see we can be part of something that makes people feel so wonderful."
- Hansen hopes to bring an additional soccer academy to Utah, similar to the RSL Academy in Arizona, to help develop more talent within this state.
Kira Terry is a sports writer covering Real Salt Lake for KSL.com. Follow her on Twitter, @kiraterry.