Real Salt Lake's plans for fielding a USL PRO team took another major step forward on Tuesday, according to a local report that the Utah State Fairpark's Board of Directors approved the club's proposal for construction of an 8,000-seat stadium to host the team at the downtown site.
Spencer Ryan Hall, news director at local NBC affiliate station KSL, tweeted out the news:
The Utah State Fairpark board approved the new stadium proposal to build an 8,000-seat home for Real Salt Lake’s minor league affiliate.— Spencer Ryan Hall (@saltcityhoops) September 2, 2014
The new venue would be funded by RSL, who reaffirmed plans to MLSsoccer.com on Tuesday to debut their USL PRO side next year and base it at their Rio Tinto Stadium home (which will be downsized for USL PRO matches) until the Fairpark facility is completed.
The home of the Utah State Fair, the site sits in a central location and has become a target for revitalization as sections of the complex show their age. The soccer stadium would be a key anchor of the Fairpark redevelopment plan (see renderings above).
The new stadium would be a multi-use venue able to host a range of other events. But the main tenant would be RSL's new project, which is considered a vital developmental piece bridging the club's youth academy in Arizona with the senior team.
At present, the LA Galaxy are the only MLS club to field a USL PRO team of their own, known as Galaxy II, though several other MLS clubs are planning similar strategies.