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Polling Utahns' Feelings on Major League Soccer

Polling Utahns' Feelings on Major League Soccer

Posted - Dec. 3, 2004 at 4:44 p.m.



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John Daley ReportingMajor league soccer, the top soccer league in America, is coming to Utah next year. But will Utahns support it? We have exclusive new poll results from Dan Jones and Associates.

According to our exclusive Dan Jones poll for KSL-TV and the Deseret Morning News, most Utahns believe soccer will be successful here in Utah, but smaller numbers say they will attend a game.

We know the team, called Real Salt Lake, will be playing at Rice-Eccles stadium next spring. Meantime, the search is on for a location for a soccer-specific stadium. First let me tell you about new poll about the new MLS soccer franchise, numbers we have from an exclusive Dan Jones poll of roughly 300 Utahns for KSL-TV and the Deseret Morning News.

We asked, “Will you attend a Real Salt Lake soccer game this season?” A total of 13% say definitely or probably, 28% say probably not, and 57% say definitely not.

The numbers for soccer look much more promising when we asked, “Do you believe MLS soccer will be a success in Utah?” Exactly half say they think it will succeed here, 35% say no.

The CEO of the new club says strong youth soccer numbers and high interest amongst Hispanics bode well for the team's success.

Dean Howes, Real Salt Lake CEO: "The reaction from the community has been tremendous, when you see the velocity of our ticket sales. We think the community is very ready."

Meantime, the search is on for a site to build a roughly 20,000 seat, 50 or 60 milllion dollar soccer stadium. Negotiations are focusing on downtown Salt Lake, perhaps near the Gateway, or in Murray near the TRAX stop at 43rd south.

Rocky Anderson, Salt Lake City Mayor: “This league is to soccer as the NBA is to basketball. Yeah, I absolutely think it can be worked out.”

Dan Snarr, Mayor of Murray: “I’m excited about major league soccer just being in Utah. And if it’s here, that’s wonderful. And well work hard to make it work here.”

Dean Howes, Real Salt Lake General Manager: "The reaction from the community has been tremendous, when you see the velocity of our ticket sales. We think the community is very ready."

Our poll also found reluctance to use public money to fund a soccer stadium: 28% say public money should be spent on it, 64% say NO.

As for a location, 15% of those polled say downtown Salt Lake, 22% say Murray, the biggest number--37%--don't know. The clock on a stadium is ticking--and we could have site chosen by the end of this week.

The leaders of the Real Salt Lake Soccer franchise say they plan to have a decision about the location for the stadium by the end of this month. The team will begin its inaugural season at Rice Eccles Stadium next spring.

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