Rio Tinto Stadium

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Rio Tinto Stadium
"The RioT"
Rio Tinto Stadium.PNG
Rio Tinto Stadium
Location 9256 South State Street
Sandy, Utah 84070-2604
Coordinates 40°34′59″N 111°53′35″W / 40.582923°N 111.893156°W / 40.582923; -111.893156Coordinates: 40°34′59″N 111°53′35″W / 40.582923°N 111.893156°W / 40.582923; -111.893156
Public transit Sandy Expo (UTA station)
Owner Dell Loy Hansen
Operator Dell Loy Hansen
Capacity 20,213[1]
Field size 120 × 75 yards[2]
Surface Kentucky Blue Grass
Broke ground August 12, 2006
Opened October 9, 2008
Construction cost $110 million[3]
($120 million in 2015 dollars[4])
Architect Rossetti Architects
Project manager ICON Venue Group[5]
Structural engineer Martin & Associates[6]
Services engineer M-E Engineers, Inc.[6]
General contractor Layton-Turner Joint Venture[6]
Real Salt Lake (MLS) (2008–present)
Real Monarchs (USL Pro) (2015–present)

Rio Tinto Stadium (commonly referred to as simply Rio Tinto or "The RioT") is an American soccer-specific stadium in Sandy, Utah, that is the home to Major League Soccer club Real Salt Lake and its USL Pro associate team, Real Monarchs. The stadium opened on October 9, 2008, and seats 20,213 for soccer, but can be expanded to over 25,000 for concerts.[3]

The stadium hosted the 2009 MLS All-Star Game, the second leg of the 2011 CONCACAF Champions League Finals, and the final of the 2013 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup. It was also a host stadium during the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup.

Construction history[edit]

After considering sites in downtown Salt Lake City, Vineyard, and Provo, a soccer-specific stadium for Real Salt Lake was approved for the city of Sandy, a suburb of Salt Lake City, in late 2005; however, funding for the stadium was hard to come by. A vote in January 2006 struck down a funding proposal for the stadium, and the project was declared "dead" by owner Dave Checketts on the 29th of that month, putting the team's future in doubt. Parties from cities such as Rochester, New York, and St Louis, Missouri expressed interest in purchasing the franchise and moving it, and Checketts announced that the team would likely be sold and moved out of the Salt Lake area by the end of the 2007 season.

In response to the rejection of the stadium plan, local construction company Anderson Geneva offered the club 30 acres of land on which to build the stadium just east of Interstate 15 in Sandy for free, at an estimated loss on the price of the land at US $10 Million. The move prompted the club to make a new proposal to the Utah State Senate on February 2, 2006, in which 15 percent of the hotel taxes collected in Salt Lake County between July 2007 and 2017, equaling about US $2 Million a year, would be diverted to the project. The bill was passed by the Senate, allowing for the club to announce the commencement of building what was then known as "RSL Stadium".

The groundbreaking of the stadium took place on August 12, 2006 featuring elected leaders of the state of Utah, as well as team officials and the rosters of both Real Salt Lake and Spanish club Real Madrid, who were due to play each other in a Xango Cup match a few days after the fact.

On September 28, 2008, it was announced that the naming rights to the stadium were sold to international mining company Rio Tinto, owners of local mining operation Kennecott Utah Copper. A fifteen-year deal was set into place, worth between $1.5 million and $2 million per year.[7]

The stadium finally opened on October 9, 2008, in a Major League Soccer match between Real Salt Lake and the New York Red Bulls.


Club soccer[edit]

Because the stadium was under construction throughout 2008 and did not open until late in the year, most of Real Salt Lake's 2008 season was spent in their original home at Rice-Eccles Stadium, on the grounds of the University of Utah in downtown Salt Lake City. The first match (and first event overall) held within the stadium was a Major League Soccer match between RSL and the New York Red Bulls on October 9, 2008, which ended in a 1-1 draw between the two in front of a then-sellout crowd of 20,008 people. A few weeks later, the stadium also played host to the first playoff game in RSL history against Chivas USA, in which the home side ended up winning 1-0 in front of another sellout crowd.

On July 29, 2009, the stadium played host to the 2009 Major League Soccer All-Star Game between a team of MLS All-Stars and Premier League side Everton. The game initially ended as a 1-1 tie, leading to a penalty shootout in which the English side emerged as champions. It was the first time that a foreign team had defeated the All-Stars since the creation of the game, and remains the only All-Star game to progress to penalties as of 2013.

Throughout 2010 and 2011, the stadium became one of the toughest venues to play at in Major League Soccer, with Real Salt Lake having and undefeated streak of 34 games at home. At the time, it was the longest undefeated streak achieved by any team in MLS history; the record has since been broken by the Houston Dynamo, who won their 35th home game on April 14, 2013.

On April 27, 2011, the stadium played host to the second leg of the 2011 CONCACAF Champions League Finals between RSL and Liga MX club CF Monterrey, for the chance to represent the continent at the 2011 FIFA Club World Cup. The Mexican side ended up winning the game 1-0, and thanks to a 2-2 draw back in Mexico during the first leg, Monterrey were declared the champions on aggregate score. The game remains the farthest point achieved by an American side in any FIFA-sponsored competition.

The stadium hosted the final of the 2013 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup between RSL and DC United on October 1, 2013, with the away side winning the cup 1-0 in front of over 17,000 spectators.

International soccer[edit]

Since the stadium opened its doors, it has become a very popular place for the United States men's national soccer team to play matches against regional opponents. The first match held by the team at the stadium took place on September 9, 2009 against El Salvador, in a fourth-round qualifier for the 2010 FIFA World Cup; the game ended in a 2-1 victory for the home side in front of 19,000 spectators.[8] The team returned to the stadium on June 18, 2013, in a fourth-round qualifier game for the 2014 FIFA World Cup against Honduras; the home side once again won at the stadium, this time a 1-0 victory in front of 20,250 people.[9]

The stadium was used as a host stadium during the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup, and hosted two back-to-back games for Group C on July 13, 2013.[10] In the first game, the United States defeated Cuba by a score of 4-1, while in the second, Costa Rica pulled out a 1-0 win against Belize; both games took place in front of a crowd of 17,597 spectators.[11]

The United States women's national soccer team has also played two matches against international opponents at the stadium. The first game was played on March 31, 2010, as a friendly match against Mexico; in the first winter game ever played by the US team, the home side ended up winning the match 1-0, thanks to a second half goal by Abby Wambach.[12] The second game took place as another friendly match on June 30, 2012 against Canada; once again, the home side ended up winning the game, 2-1, in front of 16,800 spectators.[13]


Since 2011, the stadium has played host to the XFINITY High School Football Challenge, a series of games that pits local teams Alta and Jordan against opponents from across the country. For the 2013 edition, the Alta Hawks will take on the Bergen Catholic Crusaders of New Jersey, while the Jordan Beetdiggers will face the Allentown Redbirds, also of New Jersey.

The stadium has also hosted the Zion's Bank Top of the Mountains Bowl, a bowl game of the NJCAA, since 2008.


Rio Tinto Stadium has been used on several occasions for rugby matches. The first rugby match in the stadium took place between college sides BYU and Utah in March 2010, and was also used as the site of the 2011 USA Rugby Championship, in which UC-Berkeley defeated Brigham Young 21-14. In May, 2014, the Varsity Cup Collegiate Rugby National Championship final match saw Brigham Young defeat UC-Berkeley 43-33 in front of 10,172 fans.[14]


The first concert ever held at the stadium was by American rock band The Eagles, who performed there during their Long Road Out of Eden Tour on May 9, 2009.

Paul McCartney performed at the stadium on July 13, 2010, during his Up and Coming Tour, marking the first time that the performer had ever done a show in the state of Utah.

American rock band KISS performed at the stadium during their Hottest Show on Earth Tour on September 22, 2010, marking their first show in the state in seven years.

Neil Diamond performed at the stadium on July 28, 2012.

The most recent concert at Rio Tinto Stadium was performed by country artist Jason Aldean, as part of his 2013 Night Train Tour, on July 27, 2013.

Attendance records (soccer)[edit]

Real Salt Lake games[edit]

  • As of January 30, 2015
Rank Date Game Result Attendance Notes
1 September 28, 2011 vs Chicago Fire L 0-3 20,762
2 April 27, 2011 vs Monterrey L 0-1 20,738 2011 CONCACAF Champions League Finals
3 November 1, 2014 vs Los Angeles Galaxy D 0-0 20,713 2014 MLS Cup Playoffs Semmifinals
4 October 11, 2014 vs San Jose Earthquakes W 2-0 20,701
5 September 19, 2014 vs Colorado Rapids W 5-1 20,692
6 October 22, 2014 vs C.D. Chivas USA W 2-0 20,665
7 September 30, 2014 vs Sacramento Republic FC W 2-0 20,507 Friendly match
8 September 6, 2014 vs FC Dallas W 2-1 20,545
9 September 22, 2012 vs Portland Timbers W 2-1 20,524
10 July 4, 2014 vs New England Revolution W 2-1 20,513

International games[edit]


Rank Date Game Result Attendance Notes
1 18 June 2013  United States vs  Honduras W 1-0 20,250 2014 FIFA World Cup qualification – CONCACAF Fourth Round
2 5 September 2009  United States vs  El Salvador W 2-1 19,066 2010 FIFA World Cup qualification – CONCACAF Fourth Round
3 13 July 2013  United States vs  Cuba W 4-1 17,597 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup Group C
 Costa Rica vs  Belize 1-0


Rank Date Game Result Attendance Notes
1 June 30, 2012  United States vs  Canada W 2-1 16,805 Women's international friendly
2 September 13, 2014  United States vs  Mexico W 8-0 8,849 Women's international friendly
3 March 31, 2010  United States vs  Mexico W 1-0 3,732 Women's international friendly


On September 20, 2008, it was announced that the naming rights to the stadium would be awarded to international mining company Rio Tinto, the owners of the local Kennecott Utah Copper mining company and its Bingham Canyon Mine on the west side of the Salt Lake Valley. A fifteen-year naming deal was signed, valued at around 1.5 to 2 million US dollars a year.

Other major sponsors within the stadium include Maverik, America First Credit Union, Vivint, Budweiser, and Zions Bank.


The stadium is located near the interchange between US Highway 89 (State Street) and Utah State Route 209 (9000 South), and is easily accessible from Interstate 15; however, parking near the stadium is very limited. The stadium is also accessible by light rail via the Blue Line of UTA TRAX; the nearest station is Sandy Expo on 9400 South.


External links[edit]

Preceded by
Rice–Eccles Stadium
Home of Real Salt Lake
Succeeded by