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Real Salt Lake finally found a new ownership group, headed by David Blitzer and Utah Jazz owner Ryan Smith. Jazz fans, and even some RSL fans, have gotten to know Smith over the past several months.
But who is Blitzer, and where does he have other financial investments? Here are 10 facts about RSL’s new lead investor.
1. He is the global head of tactical opportunities at the Blackstone Group, an investment company with hundreds of billions of dollars tied up in real estate, private equity, credit, insurance, etc. His net worth is estimated at $1.3 billion.
2. He is the co-managing partner of Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment, which owns several sports teams, including the Philadelphia 76ers and the New Jersey Devils. The 76ers were the first sports franchise HBSE bought, doing so in 2011 for $280 million. The team is now worth $2.45 billion, per Forbes.
3. Arctos Sports Partners will hold a minority share of RSL under Blitzer. The private equity firm based out of Dallas and New York has become a leader in sports investments since it was founded in 2019. It boasts on its website it partners “with owners and leagues to increase liquidity and financial flexibility for ownership groups.” Some of the dozen-plus teams it holds share in includes the Golden State Warriors and Sacramento Kings of the NBA, Liverpool FC and, as of Dec. 31, the Tampa Bay Lightning of the NHL.
4. He and his wife, Allison Ross, founded the Blitzer Family Foundation. Its mission is to promote youth development through education, athletics and health.
5. He lived in London for 10 years, where he became passionate about the sport of soccer. He first thought about buying a team in the Championship and trying to get it promoted to the Premier League. An anonymous source in a 2015 Forbes article said Blitzer and Harris got involved in soccer as a means of getting to know the London landscape so they could eventually bring an NFL team there. He now owns Bolt Football Holdings, which has investments in several soccer clubs around the world, including Crystal Palace of the Premier League and Waasland-Beveren of the Belgian first division.
6. He reportedly tried to sell Crystal Palace in 2019, just a few years after he and two other investors bought it. That changed, however, when John Textor reportedly bought into the club and took over about 18% of it last August.
7. He is reportedly close to a deal to buy a 35% minority stake in the Cleveland Guardians of Major League Baseball, per Sportico. He and his partner Josh Harris had interest in buying the New York Mets in 2020, per Reuters. Blitzer told Bloomberg last year that he’s interested in investing in sports teams because of their growing popularity and the value of their media rights.
“People have realized at their core that these are amazing businesses,” Blitzer said, “in terms of the creation of content and the ultimate value of media rights.”
8. He and Harris bought a less than 5% stake in the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2020, per Bloomberg. They reportedly paid about $140 million for that slice of the team.
9. He graduated magna cum laude from the Wharton school of business at the University of Pennsylvania in 1991.
10. He said Thursday that he was a “really good” soccer player in high school. He graduated from Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School in 1987 and was inducted into its Hall of Fame in December 2018.