Competition Heats Up for Soccer Stadium

Competition Heats Up for Soccer Stadium

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John Daley ReportingIn Utah's soccer world the competition is like the weather, it's heating up. The state's major league team is building a successful first year while the competition is getting intense between the cities vying to build Real Salt Lake's new stadium.

To keep track of this story you've got to follow the bouncing ball. Salt Lake and Sandy were the first to kick in their proposals, then Sandy began making a run for the new stadium. Just which will score the team is anyone's guess.

Utah's new soccer team is gaining momentum, installing a 100-thousand dollar sod field for a muy-prestigious US versus Costa Rica World Cup qualifying match. It's winning at home, averaging 18-thousand fans, in the top three in the league. And now it has three towns fighting to host its 22-thousand seat, 60-million dollar soccer-specific stadium.

The newest horse in the race is the Utah State Fairpark, now Salt Lake's preferred location after an earlier proposal on property just south of the Little America Hotel looks to be too pricey.

Rocky Anderson, Salt Lake City Mayor: "Given the fact that this is property that is already owned by the state, it would take no more public funding for the purchase of the property, this is absolutely a no brainer."

It all comes down to three sites: Murray, Salt Lake and Sandy, and three key issues: location, money and politics.

The stadium will cost 60 million dollars and require perhaps half in public financing, which would require some local taxing authority, would require an OK from state lawmakers who have a running feud with Salt Lake's Mayor.

The House Speaker is from Sandy and favors his hometown.

Rep. Greg Curtis,l (R) House Speaker: "It's a territorial thing in the sense I think it would be a great thing out in Sandy. But it's not just Sandy for Sandy's sake. I want to look at all those factors, but there seems to be a reluctance on Salt Lake City's part to well any place other than Salt Lake City is off the table. That doesn't make sense. Let's look at all viable options."

Rocky Anderson, Salt Lake City Mayor: "I know a lot of people say I'm being punished for speaking out on issues and providing a different point of view, but I think this would happen no matter who is mayor. Salt Lake City has not been treated well by the legislature."

Team officials say there's no frontrunner.

Steve Pastorino, Real Salt Lake General Manager: "It's a combination of resources available at the site. How much money is available for land acquisition, infrastructure, access to local roads, etc, etc, etc?"

By the way, there are a little more than ten thousand tickets left for that World Cup Qualifier. They're going fast and the team expects a sell-out crowd, a full stadium here at Rice-Eccles stadium June 4th.

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