Soccer Business Bits: RSL Ownership Change, HDC Name & More

rsl planeLots of business stories breaking this week, but we will start in Salt Lake City, where RSL owner Dave Checketts has sold off his remaining interest in RSL, along with Rio Tinto Stadium and ESPN 700 to former minority owner Dell Loy Hansen.  A real estate developer/owner, Hansen is well known in the Salt Lake area and is a converted fan to the game.  Checketts is a well respected figure in sports circles and was the driving force behind bringing soccer to Utah.  Prior to his involvement with RSL, Checketts was President of the New York Knicks and Madison Square Garden.  From the Salt Lake Tribune “Hansen said RSL has restructured and consolidated its loans on the $110 million Rio Tinto Stadium, creating a savings of $1.8 million annually. That’s money that could be used to improve the on-field product, the new owner said. The club is still a year away from operating in the black, but Hansen said he believes RSL and Major League Soccer are trending in the right direction. He views the purchase as a “family asset,” something he might pass on to someone else in five years.”

In other news, there are multiple reports that the 10 year, $70 million naming rights deal for the Home Depot Center will not be renewed when it expires in May.  The HDC is one of the premier soccer venues in the United States and the Center includes the Olympic training center and facilities for other sports.

Finally, we wrote yesterday about the newly cemented relationship between USL PRO and MLS.  One team, Chivas USA, elected to opt out of the new agreement.