Defending league champion Real Salt Lake has translated its success to the best regular-season record in its history and increased crowds at Rio Tinto Stadium.
RSL does have the advantage of not competing with major league baseball, NHL, and the NFL in its market, but is still bucking the University of Utah -- the football team regularly draws more than 50,000 to RSL's former home, Rice-Eccles Stadium -- as well as the NBA Jazz.
While a new stadium has helped drive the average attendance this season to 16,760, an increase of about 2.5 percent over last season and 7th best in MLS, team president Bill Manning is convinced of the primary factor. “One word I got for you,” Manning said. “Winning.”
“What’s interesting now is that the evolution of our team has come so far that when we tie a game, people are pissed off,” he added. “For the most part, people come to watch us play and they go home happy. … We’ve really come a long, long way.”