Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Staying at Rice Eccles is a Bad Idea for Real Salt Lake

In a Deseret News article, Salt Lake County Councilwoman Jenny Wilson advocated Real Salt Lake remaining permanently at Rice Eccles Stadium. She divided the issues in two categories. The first were "brick and mortar". Let's look at those. First, the field at RES would need to be widened. That would degrade the fan experience for both football and soccer attendees. The front row is already at least six feet off the field. Imagine how high it would be after you take out the first several rows. (unless you completely rebuild the seating to lower it, or the field to raise it, but at that point you may as well build a new stadium) Taking out the first several rows would make the field wide enough for soccer but too wide for football. Football already has generous sidelines. Widening the field would place the front row far away from U football action. Would RES be willing to decrease the price of front row tickets because the wide field makes them worse seats than they were before? Second, the team facilities at RES are no good and would have to be redone. Third, field turf. Soccer is a different sport than football and should not be played on field turf. RSL players are already talking about how the turf is harder on the body than grass and in the long term many wonder if it may shorten a player's career. Remember, soccer players move and run continuously with no time outs. This is unlike football in which the action occurs in short spurts with generous pauses. So, remaining at RES means the seating will need to be rebuilt, the field will have to be replaced, and the facilities completely remodeled. Just build a new stadium and solve all the problems at once.

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