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Stories you missed during the election: Opening of Rio Tinto Stadium

Stories you missed during the election: Opening of Rio Tinto Stadium



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Fans of Real Salt Lake still are trying to get used to the team's new stadium. Overall, the opening of the stadium is being called a success. But not everything went according to plan, and there still are some kinks to be ironed out.

Here's part one of our special series, "The stories you missed during the election."

So far, the Rio Tinto Stadium is getting high marks from its neighbors.

Mi Ranchito Grill General Manager Javier Armenta said, "Oh, the stadium is beautiful. Everything is good. It's close, and it's not like an Olympic (sized) stadium."

Armenta says sales are up on game days. One of the reasons why is because there is still a lot of confusion about where people should park.

"We let them stay. They can park here. They pay a small cost, maybe $5, sometimes. But usually they come and eat and then they'll go watch the game," he said.

Some businesses that allow you to park at their place during a game are a little more convenient than others. For example, an office complex south of 9000 South and west of State Street lets you park there, but to get to the stadium you've got to cross a creek bed and slip through a hole cut out of a chain link fence. Getting to the stadium is relatively easy, but when you leave, you'll be in a traffic jam.

Real Salt Lake Team President Bill Manning said, "Ninetieth is a busy street to start with. What people have found out is it's going to take five or six games to figure out where they want to park and where the best places are. What we've found is that east of State Street and south of 9000 South have turned out to be the best locations," he said.

Manning says the best place to park is at the Jordan School District office building, on the other side of Jordan Commons. He also says parking wasn't the only snag they hit while opening the stadium. They also had serious staff issues at the concession stands.

"We had trained as much as we could, but we weren't ready in terms of the volume (of customers) and turning things over," he said.

A few customers have complained that their season tickets have gone up in price. Manning says some seats have become more expensive, but others are cheaper now.

"The front row around the building is actually a premium price, which is pretty expensive. But then as you go over down the line you actually end up having price points at $27, $22, $18 or $16 a ticket for season tickets," he explained.

But Manning says most of the fans have upgraded their season tickets compared to what they had at Rice-Eccles Stadium.

E-mail: pnelson@ksl.com

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Paul Nelson

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