By MLS standards, Real Salt Lake was an all-star last season, finishing fifth overall with an average attendance of 16,366 fans per game. However, that, like many official MLS attendance figures, was
a gross overstatement, as the team's internal data revealed fewer than 10,000 paying customers per game. Why the discrepancy? Promotions and giveaways accounted for the other 6,000. One in five
tickets weren't paid for, and on one occasion, freebies outweighed paid tickets. RSL had to release these figures to the public as part of its bid to raise $40 million from Salt Lake County residents.
The team is building a 20,000-seat capacity stadium it has to fill-at least mostly-in order for the investment to be a success. Residents want to know how the team plans to achieve this. Scott Stucki,
VP of the RSL fan club, says success and the addition of Freddy Adu should help bump up attendance considerably. "Utahns like winners," he says. "If the team is winning, Utahns will come out. If
they're not winning, Utahns will stay home." RSL's own late playoff push is one indicator that the city of Salt Lake would back a successful team-the team's average attendance surged 38 percent in its
final five games. RSL's prospects could be boosted by the fact that the NBA's Utah Jazz is the only other professional sports team in town. The Salt Lake City Tribune says the RSL team is ambitious;
indeed, Steve Gelfand, RSL's spokesman, says its goal is to "position RSL as one of the world's most recognizable and revered sports brands."
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