Real Salt Lake officially announced something on Tuesday afternoon it had been hoping to reveal for some time that the club will be able to play its final two regular-season home games at its nearly-completed stadium in Sandy.
RSL will play New York on Oct. 9th and FC Dallas on Oct. 18 at Real Salt Lake Stadium, which the club deemed on Tuesday will be finished enough to host games this fall. Both matches will be nationally televised and will provide Real with high-profile opportunities to unveil its 20,000-seat stadium.
According to RSL president Bill Manning, it had been "touch-and-go" for some time over whether the stadium would be far enough along to be used this October, and he credited Layton-Turner Construction and owner Dave Checketts for helping to make it possible.
As with any major construction project, not everything at RSL Stadium will be finished in October like RSL's front offices, for example but the threshold that Real officials set for being able to declare it ready will be met.
What was that threshold?
"Anything that the fan touches or feels has to be operational," said Manning. "It took us a while to confirm that, but we'll be able to do that."
Besides announcing it will be able to play its final two home games in the new digs on Tuesday, Manning also announced that RSL has decided how to relocate its 2008 season-ticket holders from their old seats at Rice-Eccles Stadium to their new seats at the new stadium.
All 2008 season-ticket holders who have already renewed for 2009 will be given tickets for both matches in their new seats, while 2008 season-ticket holders who have not yet renewed will be given tickets in a "comparable location."
"If you have seats on the west side, we'll put you on the west side," said Manning.
Fans who don't have 2008 season tickets but have purchased them for 2009 will have the opportunity to buy tickets during a one-week window before they go on sale to the general public on Sept. 2nd.
During that window, 2008 season-ticket holders who have renewed will also have the opportunity to purchase additional seats.
Asked whether he expects both games to sell out, Manning responded, "That would be nice."
Though some things like the front offices and some other minor details won't be 100-percent complete by October, Manning said he hopes the Supporters' Section at the south end of the stadium will be ready to go.
The south end of the stadium features a stage but will have retractable seating that will hold all of RSL's supporters' groups, and Manning said he's hopeful it will be complete in time for October.
"That's the goal," he said.
Unlike other areas of the stadium, in which RSL officials have made it a requirement to have all restrooms completed, Manning said Real may consider using the south end even if the restrooms behind it aren't completely finished. That's provided, of course, that the actual seating area is completed. If it isn't, Manning added, the whole south end will be roped off and RSL will place its supporters' groups in another area."I wanna make sure they're taken care of," said Manning.