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Ownership Watch: Is Ryan Smith the frontrunner?

With no news, the standard is now speculation.

MLS: FC Dallas at Real Salt Lake Jeffrey Swinger-USA TODAY Sports


I actually have no real news to report. No rumors. Nothing.

Well, except maybe that the rumor that I talked about last week has been largely quashed, and I’m not sure whether that was due to a lack of actual interest on the part of one or more parties involved, or if it was down to MLS and Dell Loy Hansen declining, or whether the potential investor-operator lost interest.

This has me back thinking about Qualtrics owner Ryan Smith, whose interest has been very public. I don’t think it’s a done deal yet, but I’m inclined to believe that he’s the frontrunner at current.

It is interesting in that we’ve hard nary a peep of rumor from the Larry H. Miller Group, who was widely considered a top option not so long ago. But now, we’ve got nothing from them. Is that because they’ve dropped off the map? I don’t necessarily think so, but the prolonged pandemic and general refusal in Utah and the U.S. to approach it with anything close to caution or care has created an interesting situation for them. With diminished money coming in for the Utah Jazz currently, movie theaters being little more than a money pit, and other economic factors, it would make sense that they may not look to take on a new investment at this time.

However, that’s all said with zero knowledge of the actual goings-on, and like I said, it’s been pretty quiet out there.

It is hard to believe it’s only been two months since everything kicked off — it feels like it’s been much longer, after all — but here we are. That leaves Dell Loy Hansen with an estimated four months to finish the sale, which would have it complete at the latest by late February. That’s apparently the deadline, at least, before MLS would be within their MLS Constitutional rights to force a sale. I’d imagine if one was already in progress, they’d let that play out, of course.

Anyway, so this all leaves us with no new information. I still think Smith is our likeliest candidate at this point, and at this point, I don’t think I’d mind. It does make me wonder if he’d be sole owner or if he’d have some sort of tiered ownership structure alongside him — think LAFC. Again, that’s me speculating here, not operating with some inside information of any value.

So I guess we’ll sit here for another week, wondering if anything’s happening.

The hard part of all this is watching our club slide into chaos and disrepair, knowing that we have an owner on his way out and somebody, at some point, on their way in. It makes the poor performances, mediocre roster, and general malaise all the more painful, because there’s no sign of light. There’s an expectation that, at some point, light will come — but that’s very different from seeing the sun peaking out over the horizon.

Anyway, here’s a great song from The Mountain Goats that really reflects how I feel about Real Salt Lake in 2020.