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Report: David Blitzer part of group set to buy Real Salt Lake

Deal for Philadelphia 76ers and NJ Devils co-owner to acquire MLS franchise ‘reached but not signed’.

12 November 2021 Rory Jones

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  • Sale process has been run by MLS since January
  • Franchise was recently valued at US$420 million

Major League Soccer’s (MLS) Real Salt Lake is nearing a takeover by an investment group led by David Blitzer, the co-owner of the Philadelphia 76ers and the New Jersey Devils, according to Sportico

Josh Harris, who is Blitzer’s partner in the Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment (HBSE) group which holds the majority stakes in the National Basketball Association (NBA) and National Hockey League (NHL) franchises, is not involved in the investment.

According to Sportico, an agreement to acquire Salt Lake – a franchise recently valued at US$420 million – with Blitzer’s consortium has been reached but not yet officially signed off. Little is known about the other partners in the deal at this stage.

In January, MLS took over the sales process from Real Salt Lake owner, Dell Loy Hansen, who failed to find a buyer last year after putting the franchise up for sale amid a racism scandal.

Hansen’s tenure as owner fell apart in August 2020 when he publicly criticised Salt Lake’s players boycotting of a match in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, with The Athletic also reporting that the owner used racist language in front of team staff.

If confirmed, the takeover would be the latest in a series of ownership changes across MLS.

Orlando City SC were recently bought by the Minnesota Vikings owners, the Wilf family, who acquired the team and stadium in a deal reported to be worth as much as US$450 million.

Ted Segal paid US$400 million for the Houston Dynamo in June this year, while an ownership shake up at Inter Miami valued the club at US$600 million.

In terms of soccer ownership experience, HBSE also has a stake Premier League club Crystal Palace, while Blitzer has other personal European soccer investments in Bundesliga outfit FC Augsburg and Belgian second-tier side Waasland Beveren.

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