Utah could welcome back pro women’s soccer team

Utah could welcome back pro women’s soccer team

Illustration: Gabriella Turrisi/Axios

Utah could once again host a professional women’s soccer team by 2024.

What’s going on: The National Women’s Soccer League is in the midst of “advanced talks” to expand squads in Utah, the San Francisco Bay Area and Boston, The Wall Street Journal reported last week .

Catch up fast: The state’s former women’s professional soccer club, Utah Royals FC, was sold in 2020. It moved to Kansas City, Kansas, after then-owner Dell Loy Hansen faces allegations of using racist language and sexism.

Between the Lines: This deal allowed the new owners to send the team back to Utah in 2023. The team’s planned return to Utah has been described as “an open secret within the NWSL”, according to ESPN.

Background: For years, Utah franchise executives and owners have talked about bringing another professional sports team to Beehive State.

Last year, Smith Entertainment Group, the parent company of Real Salt Lake, Utah Jazz and Vivint Arena, announced a deal with Arctos Sports Partners in hopes of bringing another sports franchise to the state. . Real Salt Lake owners David Blitzer and Ryan Smith have said they intend to bring the Royals back from Utah, according to Deseret News.

Overview: The popularity of women’s professional football has grown significantly in recent years as the NWSL has grown.

By the numbers: Utah owners are reportedly paying between $2 million and $5 million for the team in a deal struck years ago, according to The Athletic.

What they’re saying: “When we have news to share, we will,” a league spokesperson told Axios.

A spokesperson for Real Salt Lake declined to comment.

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