Real Salt Lake is of course proud of its sporting achievement in reaching the Major League Soccer playoffs for the first time at the fourth attempt, writes Michael Lewis. But the economic reasons for reaching the postseason are just as important, and not just for the extra league games. Depending on how the league judges the qualification criteria, RSL could end up with revenue-generating extra home games in either Superliga or the Concacaf Champions League in 2009.
"It would be a great step," said General Manager Garth Lagerwey, "and in this market, fans are really going to see meaningful games. We can bring in great teams like Real Madrid for friendlies, but what people want to see is meaningful games, and that's what SuperLiga and Champions League games are. They're all-or-nothing, do-or-die games, to see who's better, and there's some national pride involved. That's something that's very attractive to our fans."
Lagerwey added that the incentive to qualify for one of those tournaments "lays out very clearly for our team that there is something else to fight for here." Or to re-phrase that -- success doesn't end with scraping into the playoffs.