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New MLS owners ‘very excited’ to bring Utah Royals back to NWSL

The Royals were bought in 2020 and moved to Kansas City. (Bryan Byerly/ISI Photos)

David Blitzer, in partnership with Utah Jazz owner Ryan Smith, was announced Tuesday to have reached a deal to purchase MLS club Real Salt Lake. On Wednesday, Blitzer revealed the ownership group’s plans to bring back the Utah Royals.

The Royals were sold in 2020 and moved to Kansas City, but not without the option for the new RSL owner to start a new NWSL club under the Royals name in 2023.

“I think the best way to say is that’s from our perspective, that’s a function of when, not if,” Blitzer said during an introductory press conference Thursday. “We’re at day one, but this has been an important item that Ryan and I have talked about a lot, and we’re very excited to bring an NWSL team back to this marketplace. They did incredibly well here. The fanbase loves it. The market is growing.”

Blitzer said that he and Smith are “huge believers” in women’s soccer and the NWSL.

Prior to the sale, the Royals finished 18-14-17 through three seasons in Utah. While the club never made the NWSL playoffs, they were one of the most successful teams off the field in the NWSL. Utah was one of just two teams to average more than 10,000 fans per game, including selling out its home opener in 2018 and playing in front of a standing-room-only crowd of 19,023 fans.

The NWSL will welcome two new teams for the 2022 season, with San Diego Wave FC and Angel City FC set to make their debuts.