The Utah Royals are back nwsl In the year 2024.
The previously established team returns with a new group of investors, including Philadelphia 76ers President Daryl Morey, Kraft Analytics Group CEO Jessica Gilman and Netflix Vice President Amy Reinhard. They are part of a group of five investors that have bought a stake in the Royals’ parent organization and MLS Real Salt Lake Club.
Real Salt Lake owners David Blitzer and Ryan Smith have begun efforts to revive the Royals, which went out of business in 2020. Blitzer will now serve as principal owner, while Gilman will stand as alternate governor for the Royals. Real Salt Lake general counsel Michelle Hensick is slated to serve as team chair.
“This is the right opportunity, with the right inclusive ownership group, that has the same vision as us: to empower women, to influence change and do it right,” Gilman told Sportico. “The alignment of values is very important.”
The official announcement of the team’s return is expected on Saturday, ahead of Real Salt Lake’s home opener. Blitzer and Smith teased the team’s revival during an introductory press conference with Real Salt Lake season ticket holders, receiving many promising reactions on the comeback.
“The chat used to work on the side of the screen, so you could read what fans were typing in real time,” Hyncik said of the discussion. “Both David and Ryan were down to earth. It was a defining moment for our ownership group to be able to see visually and deeply how important this is to our community.”
To enhance the local community connection, the group plans to partner with a local YWCA and support STEM education opportunities for young women in Utah.
“I think we’re the best women’s soccer league in the world, and attention to those details is important. The investments we’re making in the Utah community are going to be very important and powerful,” Gilman concluded.
The rebranded team, along with a new San Francisco Bay Area franchise, will join the league in 2024 as part of expansion efforts. The American League is slated to add an additional Boston franchise at a later date.