Real Salt Lake
Address: 9256 South State Street
Pitch Size: 120 yds × 75 yds
Pitch Type: Kentucky Bluegrass
Club Nickname: Claret and Cobalt
Year Ground Opened: 2008
Home Kit: Red
Away Kit: White
Having considered a handful of different sites in downtown Salt Lake City, Provo and Vineyard, the football-specific stadium was chosen to be built in Sandy in 2005. But under a year later, the project was in doubt, with a vote for funding being struck down. Groups from New York, Missouri, St Louis and Rochester all expressed an interest in purchasing Real Salt Lake and relocating the franchise, with owner Dave Checketts admitting that the team would more than likely be moving out of Salt Lake City in 2007.
But all was resolved soon after when local construction company Anderson Geneva offered the club land in Salt Lake City suburb Sandy to build the stadium. The club’s new proposal to the Utah State Senate was passed, which saw the commencement of the facility initially called RSL Stadium. International mining company Rio Tinto, owners of local mining operation Kennecott Utah Copper, then bought the naming rights to the stadium in September 2008, settling on a 15-year deal worth around $2m per year.
The stadium was opened in October 2008, with Real Salt Lake taking on the New York Red Bulls in a Major League Soccer encounter. Rio Tinto Stadium has gone on to host several major football events in the US, including the 2009 MLS All-Star Game in 2009, and the 2011 CONCACAF Champions League Finals, as well as being a host venue for the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup. It’s 20,213 capacity can be expanded to over 25,000 for music concerts.
Real Salt Lake boasts five supporters’ groups, all of which have joined together since 2019 to form The Riot. La Barra, Riot Brigade, Salt City United, Section 26 and Rogue Cavaliers Brigade can all be found in the south goal on matchday, singing, waving flags and showing their passion for the entirety of the game. The group prides itself on maintaining the stadium’s reputation as a difficult place to play for travelling teams, as well as generating a sense of ownership and pride among the club, supporters, city and state.
The Utah outfit also play the song Believe prior to every home game and indeed after every goal they score, having adopted the song in 2011 after Branden Steineckert – drummer of punk band Rancid and supporter of Real Salt Lake – composed it in honour of the club. The team’s official mascot is Leo the Lion.
Season tickets, group tickets, premium clubs and ticket offers can be found here.
Official club website
Real Salt Lake fixture list
Rio Tinto Stadium is conveniently located just 15 minutes away from downtown Salt Lake City, and 25 minutes from SLC International Airport.
From the SOUTH: Take I-15 northbound, take the exit for 10600 South and make a right at the end of the exit ramp to head east on 10600 South. Turn left at State Street, then left onto 9400 South. Make a right onto the Stadium’s Ring Road. Permit parking (Lot 2) will be immediately on the right, and VIP/Media and other permit parking (Lot 1) will be farther ahead on the left.
From the NORTH: Take I-15 southbound, take the exit for 9000 South and make a left at the end of the exit ramp to head east on 9000 South. Turn right at State Street. Permit parking (Lot 2) will be immediately on the right, and VIP/Media and other permit parking (Lot 1) will be farther ahead on the left.
From Salt Lake City International Airport: Take I-80 East to I-15 southbound. Follow the directions for coming “From the North” above.
Several hotels can be found within a short distance from Rio Tinto Stadium, offering ideal accommodation for those visiting the stadium. Hyatt House Salt Lake City/Sandy is a hugely popular option at around $82 per night. Other options include Embassy Suites by Hilton South Jordan Salt Lake City at around $84, and Hilton Garden Inn Salt Lake City/Sandy at around $85.
A number of pubs and restaurants can be found near Rio Tinto Stadium, including Budweiser Club Real, A Bar Named Sue, Joe’s Crab Shack, Legends Pub & Grill Southtown, and Brickstone’s Kitchen and Bar among many others. There is, however, a new stadium bar that was opened for the 2020 MLS campaign, which can be found adjacent to the Interform Club on level 2 on the west side of the stadium.