Rio Tinto Stadium now America First Field


Real Salt Lake naming rights Image: MLS

The Major League Soccer (MLS) club Real Salt Lake signed a 15-year deal for the stadium naming rights with one of its original corporate partners, America First Credit Union. Effective immediately, the team’s 14-year-old venue, the former Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah, US, will now be known as the America First Field.

‘TOI.News’ stated that the deal is valued at nearly $100 million, according to a source familiar with the negotiations, who was not authorized to speak publicly about it. At around $6 million per year, it matches the naming rights deals signed by the two Los Angeles MLS franchises and doubles the value for most clubs outside of Los Angeles. Rio Tinto previously had naming rights to the stadium, valued at approximately $2 million annually.

Real Salt Lake, often shortened to RSL, is an American professional soccer franchise based in the Salt Lake City metropolitan area in Utah, US. The club competes as a member club of Major League Soccer (MLS) in the Western Conference. RSL began play in 2005 as an expansion team of the league.

The America First Field is an American soccer-specific stadium in Sandy, Utah, US, that serves as the home stadium for Major League Soccer (MLS) club Real Salt Lake. The stadium opened on October 9th, 2008, and seats 20,213 for soccer, but can be expanded to over 25,000 for concerts. It was earlier known as the Rio Tinto Stadium.

The America First Credit Union is a Federally chartered credit union headquartered in Riverdale, Utah, United States. As of January 2020, America First was the sixth largest credit union in the United States in terms of total membership and ninth largest credit union in assets in the United States.

Remarked John Kimball, President of Real Salt Lake, “Since our inaugural game in 2005, the America First Credit Union has supported Real Salt Lake’s connection with this community and provides numerous in-stadium, grassroots and digital initiatives for our amazing fans.”

‘TOI.News’ further stated that the agreement continues the refreshment for the club since David Blitzer, co-owner of the National Basketball Association (NBA) team Philadelphia 76ers, the National Hockey League (NHL) team New Jersey Devils, the Major League Baseball (MLB) team Cleveland Guardians, and several soccer clubs outside the United States, acquired RSL for around $400 million in January. The NBA team Utah Jazz owner Ryan Smith and Arctos Sports Partners (private equity firm focused on acquiring passive minority stakes in professional sports franchises) are also part of the ownership group. The Real Salt Lake has been valued at $420 million and ranked 22nd out of 27 current MLS franchises.

The deal ended a lengthy sales process dating back to 2020 when the former RSL owner, Dell Loy Hansen, agreed to sell the team. The MLS took over the process in early 2021 when Hansen failed to find a buyer.

The America First Credit Union is Utah’s largest credit union and the seventh largest credit union in the United States with more than $17 billion in assets. It has 1.2 million members.

Observed Thayne Shaffer, head honcho of America First, “This partnership will provide value to our members and help us continue to invest in our community and in organizations that help individuals, families and businesses achieve their personal and financial goals.”

Since the Sandy, Utah venue opened in 2008, the RSL has played 269 home games, recording 154 wins and 66 draws with just 49 losses. The club is currently sixth in the Western Conference.

The Major League Soccer (MLS) is a men’s professional soccer league sanctioned by the United States Soccer Federation, which represents the sport’s highest level in the United States. The league comprises 28 teams – 25 in the United States and 3 in Canada – and will expand to 29 teams for the 2023 season.

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