After almost a year of speculation, the NWSL and Smith Entertainment Group confirmed that the Utah Royals will be returning for the 2024 season. The announcement came a few hours before Real Salt Lake’s home opener on March 11.
New team, new look
In the deal that sent the Royals to Kansas City in 2020, Utah kept the Royals branding in case they ever returned. Because of this, the team will keep the Utah Royals name. However, the team will feature a new, simpler crest:
#NewProfilePic pic.twitter.com/UcwLeH9YKt— Utah Royals (@UtahRoyalsFC) March 12, 2023
The Royals will also have a new shirt sponsor, America First Credit Union. In the past, the Royals have used yellow and navy blue for their primary home kit colors, so it is likely that the new kits will follow that trend. Real Salt Lake and the Royals will share America First Field, like they did before the original Royals moved to Kansas City.
RSL celebrates the Utah Royals
Real Salt Lake personnel were ready to celebrate the Royals immediately after the announcement. RSL players arrived to their game wearing yellow “return of royalty” sweatshirts and all fans attending the home opener got free “return of royalty” rally towels. Cleo, the Royals’ mascot, was present in the stadium. The new logo was already on display near section 24 and in a shared mural with RSL near the tunnel that players use to enter the field.
One Utah. pic.twitter.com/cGzp6SLaTE— Utah Royals (@UtahRoyalsFC) March 12, 2023
The Royals averaged over 11,000 fans per game, which put them second in the NWSL in attendance before they moved to Kansas City. Based on the hype from local fans, all signs point to continued high attendance when the team starts up again in 2024. The Royals have already started taking deposits for 2024 season tickets.
A royal return for ARod?
Many fans noticed that former USWNT and Royals star Amy Rodriguez was heavily featured in the “return of royalty” campaign that was used to announce the team. Rodriguez retired from the NWSL in 2022 and has since joined the coaching staff of her alma mater, USC. Some speculate that she will be involved with the front office or the coaching staff in some way. If true, Royals fans would certainly welcome the former captain back with open arms.
Are you excited to see the Royals return to the NSWL? Let me know in the comments below. Tune into Paramount+ on March 25 for the start of the NWSL season. Follow me on Twitter and check out Beyond Women’s Sports for more sporting news.