Real Salt Lake Names John Kimball Club President

SANDY, UT (Friday, February 11, 2022) – Real Salt Lake today announced that John Kimball has signed a new multi-year contract with the Club, formally establishing him has club president. Kimball previously served as Interim President and oversaw the transition of club ownership. Since returning to RSL in September, 2020, Utah native Kimball stabilized the franchise and its compendium of teams and facilities, working with Major League Soccer to ultimately transition Real Salt Lake to new ownership under David Blitzer and Smith Entertainment Group, led by Ryan Smith.

“We very much want to acknowledge the phenomenal job done over the last year-plus by John Kimball and the entire staff, as this team of people are obviously committed every day to building a world-class organization, winning championships, investing in the growth and success of the sport at all levels,” noted David Blitzer.

“John has demonstrated great leadership while running the Club and we’re excited to make his appointment as president official. RSL is an amazing asset to our community and with a strong team on the pitch and a loyal and passionate fan base, we know the Club is in a great position to continue to thrive,” said Ryan Smith.

During the 2021 MLS season as a league-operated entity, Kimball was critical to Real Salt Lake’s growth in ticket sales, corporate partnerships, and community relations. Currently, new season ticket sales for the highly-anticipated 2022 RSL season are exceeding 2019 pre-pandemic levels heading into the Club’s March 5 home opener (Rio Tinto Stadium, 4:00 p.m. MT kickoff vs. Seattle; tickets at www.RSL.com).

Real Salt Lake sold out every one of its limited-capacity home games last year, while also hosting fellow MLS side Vancouver Whitecaps FC for nearly four months due to Covid-19 necessities. During 2021, RSL was able to attract 19,000+ fans to a United States Men’s National Team friendly, as well as 18,000+ for a Club América (Liga MX) exhibition.

“It’s such an honor to work with this Club, it’s amazing fans and our new ownership to carry on the incredible legacy of Real Salt Lake,” said Kimball, an original RSL employee when the Club was established back in late 2004. “When MLS Commissioner Don Garber introduced David Blitzer and Ryan Smith’s Smith Entertainment Group as new RSL ownership, we witnessed the immense amount of pride regarding our place in Utah’s sports landscape. We know we are just scratching the surface of what we can accomplish, how we can motivate, and our place in various local, national and international soccer and corporate communities.”

Kimball, 55, has previously worked with KSL radio and television, Real Salt Lake, ESPN 700 AM and various Utah Jazz properties – including the Tour of Utah – under the Larry H. Miller group of companies. At the time of his return to RSL amid the pandemic, Kimball served as the President of Vivint Arena in downtown Salt Lake City, home to the Utah Jazz (NBA) and numerous sports and entertainment events.

ABOUT REAL SALT LAKE 

During the first week of January, 2022, the RSL compendium of properties was acquired by global sports entrepreneur David Blitzer – who boasts interests in the Philadelphia 76ers (NBA), the New Jersey Devils (NHL), and six European soccer entities, including Crystal Palace (England), FC Augsburg (Germany), Estoril (Portugal), ADO Den Haag (Netherlands), Alcorcón (Spain) and Waasland-Beveren (Belgium). The Blitzer group also includes Utah-based Smith Entertainment Group, which owns the Utah Jazz (NBA), led by Ryan Smith.

Real Salt Lake kicks off its 18th Major League Soccer season this Spring, its first full season under Head Coach Pablo Mastroeni, who led the Utah side for the final 100 days last year, advancing to the 2021 Audi MLS Cup Playoffs for the 11th time in the last 14 years.

The club’s MLS Cup 2009 victory marked the state of Utah’s only major professional championship in nearly 40 years, the title preceding an historic run to the 2010/11 CONCACAF Champions League Final. Buoyed by a passionate base boasting several thousand season ticket holders, RSL has enjoyed a prominent home-field advantage – posting a dominant 145-43-46 (Win-Loss-Draw) record across all competitions at home (2.06 points per game for a 0.771 win pct.) – since building its permanent Rio Tinto Stadium home in Sandy 13 years ago.

In 2015, the club expanded its development pyramid with the addition of Real Monarchs SLC, one of several MLS-operated clubs playing in the USL Championship, the United States’ Division II setup. The Monarchs boast a pair of titles in its brief history, as the 2017 USL regular-season champions, later winning the USL Final in 2019. For the 2022 season and beyond, Real Monarchs will compete in the newly launched “MLS NEXT Pro” as part of a joint United States and Canada endeavor to complete the professional player pathway by connecting youth academies in MLS NEXT to first teams in Major League Soccer.

The entire RSL development pipeline, which includes the RSL Academy’s U-15 and U-17 teams, calls the expansive Zions Bank Training Center in Herriman, Utah their daily training home. With five world-class grass fields, two indoor turf fields, a residential dormitory, the STEM-based RSL Academy High School and the 5,000-seat Zions Bank Stadium located on a 42-acre campus, Utah’s sporting future is bright.

Added in 2020 was the elite RSL Academy basketball program, already earning accolades internationally for its vision, mission, and accomplishments.

The RSL Community Foundation was established in 2016, created with the goals of being active in the community year-round, utilizing the popularity and reach of RSL and the Monarchs in promoting health and wellness in children throughout the region, engaging supporters of soccer to raise funds and volunteer time for various local initiatives.