Texans star J.J. Watt's interest in Utah Soccer Holdings is 100% real, according to the Sports Business Daily's Mark J. Burns.
According to the SBJ, Watt and his camp are in the early exploratory process of assessing what his possible involvement might be like in the group.
Watt's interest comes as owner Dell Loy Hansen is beginning the process of selling the company that owns NWSL's Utah Royals FC, MLS's Real Salt Lake and USL's Real Monarchs. Earlier this week, Hansen announced he would sell the group just days after taking a leave of absence following multiple investigations into allegations of racist language.
Hansen had said he felt "disrespected" after Real Salt Lake players chose not to play in Aug. 26's scheduled game vs. LAFC in protest of the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wis. ESPN, The Athletic and SB Nation subsequently reported about the toxic culture that permeated through Hansen's company in a series of stories.
Kealia Ohai Watt, the wife of the Texans star, currently plays for the NWSL's Chicago Red Stars.
The NFL star tweeted on Aug. 30 that "I see [the Royals] with a great fan base, fantastic facilities in a beautiful setting and most importantly a women’s team that can continue to help grow and amplify not only soccer, but women’s sports as a whole in this country."
According to SBJ, Ryan Smith, the CEO and founder of Qualtrics and the Miller family, owners of the NBA's Utah Jazz, are also interested in the soccer holdings.
However, if Watt does eventually purchase the holdings, he would join a number of active professional athletes who have ownership stakes in American soccer teams. Seahawks QB Russell Wilson has a stake in the Seattle Sounders, Rockets All-Star James Harden has stakes in the Houston Dynamo and Houston Dash and Nets star Kevin Durant has a stake in the Philadelphia Union. Tennis legend Serena Williams is also a part-owner of the forthcoming NWSL Los Angeles expansion team.