< Previous Page
A businessman at work » Hansen knew little of the sport when he first bought in, but his passion and business savvy were undeniable. Immediately, he dove into sponsorships and ticket sales, he said.
"I went out, being a Utah businessman, and networked," he said. "If I’ve done business with you, I’m inviting you to be a part of it."
Hansen’s ownership evolves
Sept. 5, 2009 » Dell Loy Hansen attends a political fundraiser during a World Cup qualifying match at Rio Tinto Stadium. In the owner’s box, he expresses interest in investing in Real Salt Lake.
Nov. 18, 2009 » After initially balking at investing, Hansen is announced as the team’s new co-owner. He holds 49 percent of the club.
Nov. 22, 2009 » Real Salt Lake beats the Los Angeles Galaxy to win the MLS Cup.
Dec. 11, 2012 » Dave Checketts deposits the $33 million needed to buy out Hansen’s share of RSL, but said he later decided to sell.
Jan. 24, 2013 » Hansen and Checketts hold a news conference announcing Hansen as the sole owner of Real Salt Lake.
When Hansen first came on, RSL was bringing in $2.8 million in sponsorships a year. This season, the club will bring in $8.5 million, he said. That number will cross the $10 million mark next year with a new jersey-front sponsorship deal.
But for Hansen, who once said he learned the importance of investment from a great-grandfather who grew up in a dugout basement home and put 50 cents of every dollar into a jar, RSL is unlike any other investment he’s made.
"One thing that’s black and white: I will never make money running this," he said.
The club’s profits, he said, will go back to the team in hopes of making RSL perennially one of Major League Soccer’s top four clubs.
"We’re under a salary cap, but that doesn’t mean you can’t buy really good talent," he said.
RSL isn’t a passion project at all costs, though.
Hansen acknowledges he has frustrated RSL staff and president Bill Manning as he reworks the club’s finances, cutting in some places and breaking off media and other components into separate entities. Spending has to make business sense, Hansen said.
Players on board » RSL players love Checketts.
"You have to acknowledge first and foremost how much Dave Checketts did for this club," center back Nat Borchers said. "He built it from the ground up. This club was his idea. He put in a lot of time, effort and money into creating this whole idea of Real Salt Lake. We’re all indebted for life to Dave Checketts for doing that."
Checketts knew his players’ names, and the names of their wives or girlfriends. He commanded a room. Borchers recalled his pregame speech before a playoff game against Seattle last year. "He referenced Winston Churchill and never giving up," Borchers said. "When Dave gets in front of a group of people and speaks, you’re moved."
But players see a promising future nevertheless with Hansen. Midfielder and captain Kyle Beckerman said he hopes his new boss "can take the team to the next level and continue to build on what Dave started."
"We’re really looking forward to having him as an owner," Borchers added. "He’s going to be a little more hands-on than Dave was because he lives here locally. There’s a lot at stake for Dell Loy Hansen in this project."
Ownership evolves » Checketts’ partnership with Lehman also opened up the door for Hansen to acquire greater control. When he first invested in Checkett’s SCP Worldwide sports properties in the fall of 2009, Hansen owned 49 percent of the club.
By fall 2012, Hansen had acquired 62 percent of RSL.
"Literally for the last three years, whenever ... we’d do the capital call and he’d try but couldn’t get them to fund it," Hansen said.
The percentages, however, did not bother Checketts.
He had anticipated he might have trouble meeting those obligations. The partnership agreement with Hansen was set up so that Hansen could acquire more equity if Checketts could not meet the capital calls, but Checketts would remain the managing partner.Next Page >
Copyright 2013 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.