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Salt Lake to Get Major League Soccer

Salt Lake to Get Major League Soccer



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John Daley ReportingSalt Lake--long home to a single major league sports franchise--is on the verge of adding a second. A news conference is set for tomorrow morning to announce the arrival of MLS in Utah: Major League Soccer.

Major League Soccer is adding an expansion team here in Salt Lake City, and the team is expected to play at Rice-Eccles Stadium until a new soccer stadium is built. The big question--where would that be?

Salt Lake already boasts a successful minor-league professional soccer team, the Blitzz. Per capita Utah boasts the most soccer players and youth players of any state. And come tomorrow, 25 years after the Jazz arrived here, the Beehive State will boast a new Major League Soccer franchise.

The man behind the new franchise is a pro sports heavy hitter -- Dave Checketts, former president of the Utah Jazz and New York Knicks.

What's not certain is where the team will play and how a stadium would be funded, whether some city, county and other state funds might be available for a soccer-specific stadium, which could seat roughly 20,000 fans. Stadiums like that in Chicago and New York--cost 70 million to 100 million dollars.

Salt Lake City leaders say they've talked with investors about locations in or near downtown. One central, large location in the central business district is owned by billionaire Earl Holding who has never revealed his plans for the property.

Jill Remington-Love, City Council Member: "I don't know in the CBD [Central Business District] if there's any other site that would work for them other than that sit, because it does take more than 10 acres is my understanding."

Cities like Denver have hit a home run with stadiums built downtown near transit lines. Salt Lake leaders hope soccer brings a similar kick. Another option is west of The Gateway.

Jill Remington-Love, City Council Member: "It's not huge and I think that there is land available, and I think it can be a multi-use facility where we have outdoor concerts and different things in it. So yes, we want to keep them in the downtown area."

Rocky Anderson: Salt Lake City Mayor: "People one day will be able to come from Ogden, from Provo, perhaps beyond, come down to the intermodal hub and either walk to the stadium or jump on light rail and get to the stadium."

Officially there is no name yet for the team--we can expect a big announcement about that in the coming weeks.

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