Real Salt Lake showcases new stadium upgrades ahead of season opener

SALT LAKE CITY — When fans enter Rio Tinto Stadium for Real Salt Lake’s (RSL) home opener on Saturday, they will notice several new upgrades and additions to their beloved venue which houses their favorite club. Aimed at improving one of the best home field advantages in the MLS, RSL’s owners and president focused on making several improvements throughout the stadium to enhance every supporter’s experience.

“We’re just excited,” Real Salt Lake President John Kimball said. “Tomorrow we’re going to have a full stadium, 20,000 screaming fans and part of that is the fan experience. We know how important the home field advantage is in the MLS and in particular our players. We’re just inviting the community to get back involved, they’ve responded, and we’re just completely stoked to have 20,000 fans tomorrow.”

Having completed roughly 60% of the upgrades, the new additions will feature a gorgeous mural in the southwest corner, several new banners in the RioT, tributes to the 2009 Championship team, a new “Kreilach’s Corner” in the southeast corner and several other new amenities throughout the stadium.

Real Salt Lake "Believe" banner in the RioT.
Real Salt Lake “Believe” banner in the RioT. Photo: Cole Bagley.

Beginning with the new mural, a massive tribute to the RioT will now welcome players to the grounds as they enter the stadium. There are also plans to add several other murals on the opposite wall and around the corner to the south wall. Additionally, there will be a mural dedicated to the 2009 Championship team at an undisclosed location in the stadium at some point in the future.

As for “Kreilach’s Corner”, new RSL Captain Damir Kreilach decided to donate 100 tickets per match to underprivileged children in the community. In addition to his contributions, several other individuals have also committed to providing tickets towards the cause, and a total of 430 tickets will be provided for these children at every home game.

"Kreilach's Corner" at Rio TInto Stadium.
“Kreilach’s Corner” at Rio Tinto Stadium. Photo: Cole Bagley.

Continuing through the stadium, club executives made an emphasis to add more banners and logos throughout the grounds to spruce things up. Now, when fans make their way around the stadium, the club’s logos and banners can be seen on structures and beams all along the way.

Real Salt Lake President John Kimball showing off the new team flags.
Real Salt Lake President John Kimball showing off the new team flags. Photo: Cole Bagley.

Finally, fans will also have an opportunity to become more involved in making Rio Tinto the best home field advantage in the MLS with the new flag stations located throughout the grounds. With 10 stations holding 30 flags each placed around Rio Tinto, any fan can grab a flag during the match to cheer on the club.

“You know, again, it’s just to incite passion, and Scott, the gentleman that I work with in ownership, he said, ‘John, I want an eight year old kid to come walking in here and just have their mind blown. I want them to see all the exciting things, the colors, all the interactive opportunities that we have and just have them really excited to be here and to come back every week,’” Kimball said.

RSL is now set to host their home opener against Seattle this Saturday, March 5, with a 4 p.m. kickoff. All fans in attendance will receive a yellow rally towel for their support of the club.

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