Rio Tinto Stadium Set To Open

Continuing a trend started in 1999 with Crew Stadium, Real Salt Lake will become the 8th Major League Soccer Team (Beckham’s Galaxy and Preki’s Chivas USA share the Home Depot Center) to open a Soccer Specific Stadium when RSL hosts New York on October 9.  The 115 million dollar stadium holds 20k and will be named Rio Tinto Stadium after the global mining company that operates on six continents and employs 65,000 worldwide.  Reports indicate that Rio Tinto agreed to a $15,000,000 deal with RSL for the official naming rights of the new stadium.,5143,700262749,00.html

With Red Bull Arena set to open in 2010 and the new MLS franchise in Philly also christening a new stadium in 2010, the number of teams without their own stadiums continues to shrink.  From a business perspective, stadium ownership provides multiple new areas of revenue generation (naming rights, concessions, parking, etc…) while releasing clubs from onerous rent payments that crush the bottom line.  Not surprisingly however, the fight to build these stadiums (despite the fractional costs when compared to new baseball or football stadiums) is often the subject of some intense legal maneuvering.

Rio Tinto Stadium faced proposed ballot measures, petition drives and threatened court action before it got rammed through (the big issue involved funding portions of the project through hotel taxes). Red Bull Arena is the cornerstone of New Jersey’s largest brownfield development and created a myriad of environmental hurdles.  The delays created an interesting legal issue for Red Bull season ticket holders who were reportedly promised “priority” for tickets in the new stadium when it was supposed to open in 2009 (in keeping with’s focus on season ticket issues).

Despite these issues, the erection of steel and concrete in support of MLS is an important sign for the viability of the league.  I’ll be sure to post my thoughts on the stadium after the game airs on ESPN2 next Thursday.

One final note.  With Attorney Fitzgerald about to embark on a two week honeymoon in Hawaii, I have promised to keep the seat warm in his absence.  I will post on topics other than soccer, but you will certainly see the beautiful game creep into the blog more than usual for the next couple of weeks.


  1. Forza Azzuri says:

    Now, let’s see if the Revs, a consistent playoff contender, move to Somerville in a Soccer Specific Stadium. Will they alienate their existing fans and draw enough new fans from Boston?

  2. Ben Berger says:

    The rumors for the Somerville move are certainly out there. I’m surprised you think that moving to Somerville will alienate existing fans. Which fans do you think will leave?

  3. forza azzuri says:

    i don’t think you’ll see as many CT fans making the trip. If you follow the various threads on you’ll see that a lot of Revs fans aren’t too keen on the move and the additional distance, traffic and overall drive time it will cause them

  4. I can only hope that more soccer specific stadiums open

  5. shalomsoundproject says:

    I always wonder why the capacity of Soccer Stadiums in USA is small compared to European Football Stadiums? – Considering the fact that Soccer is popular in USA. And USA is bidding for WC football?

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  1. […] the players component and plenty of family friendly activities.  With the fall 2008  opening of Rio Tinto Stadium, RSL has a beautiful new venue to showcase.  The open house seems like a fantastic way to […]

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