Utah Warriors’ ambitious venue plans


US Major League Rugby Utah Warriors new stadium Image: Utah Warriors Rugby

Plans for a new 10,000-seat arena have been unbolted by Utah Warriors Major League Rugby franchise and the same is slated to open by 2023.

The Utah Warriors are a professional rugby union team that competes in Major League Rugby, the top-level rugby competition in the United States that played its first season in 2018. The team is based in Salt Lake City, Utah (US).

The multifunctional venue will serve as the permanent home of the Warriors, which presently plays at the 5,000-seat soccer-specific Zions Bank Stadium in Utah. The new stadium will also lodge other professional sports teams that the Warriors ownership group is hoping to bring to Utah.

Additionally, the venue will stage community, high school, concerts and other entertainment events, enabling it to serve as the anchor tenant for a live-work-play district in one of Utah’s Wasatch Front communities. In the coming months, the Warriors are hoping to make final announcements on the site of the planned venue.

The Warriors will collaborate with construction company Mortenson on the project. The firm recently opened a permanent office in Utah and enjoys the reputation of building nearly 200 sports facilities across the US, including the NFL team Las Vegas Raiders’ breathtaking Allegiant Stadium (Nevada, US) and the American professional basketball team Golden State Warriors’ Chase Center in San Francisco, US.

The Warriors debuted in Major League Rugby in 2018. The league was forced to cancel its 2020 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic but has plans to return next year with a new campaign starting on March 20th.

Kimball Kjar, the Warriors’ General Manager and Chief Executive, stated, “We’ve spent a lot of time building our vision for the future home of the organization, and we are excited to take the next step in this journey. Over the last few seasons, we have built a strong fan base and following for the Warriors in the community and we’ve proven this is a rugby town. We intend to build a venue that supports Warriors Nation and that can allow other professional sports teams along with high school sports to play in this venue.”

Josh Caldwell, Business Development Executive and Head of Mortenson’s Salt Lake City office, added, “We believe the opportunities in the Utah sports industry are uniquely poised for incredible growth. And, we see partnership opportunities with organizations like the Utah Warriors and the Major League Rugby, to develop sports facilities in Utah, as an exciting example of an opportunity we are not only uniquely positioned for but also highly invested in for the greater community.”

The Warriors have formed an advisory committee to guide the stadium and surrounding live-work-play development site selection process. The committee will include Caldwell, as well as Guy Woodbury, Senior Vice-President, Hospitality at Woodbury Corporation, Mike Carey, Director, Protecs, Thom Cuparkoff, Principal, OSports, Greg Hughes, former Utah Speaker of the House and a candidate for Governor of Utah, and Steve Barth, Political Consultant, SB Strategies.

The Warriors’ stadium announcement comes on the heels of Major League Rugby announcing the 2021 kick-off date. The season will start March 20th with a full slate of 16 games and national TV coverage by media partners CBS Sports and FS2. The Major League Rugby Championship is scheduled for August 1st and will be aired on CBS.

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