Real Monarchs to Open Rio Tinto Stadium on July 11 for First Match with Fans in Attendance
SANDY, Utah - The defending USL Champion Real Monarchs SLC will host the first professional team sporting event played in the U.S with fans in attendance since March 11. The Monarchs will host the U.S. National Team legend Landon Donovan led San Diego Loyal SC on Saturday, July 11 at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah. Rio Tinto Stadium (with a normal capacity of 20,700 fans) will be opened for up to 5,300 fans (with proper social distancing) after the organization received approval for their plan from state and local health authorities and the USL. The match will be televised nationally on ESPN Deportes.
"Our staff has worked diligently to develop a comprehensive plan that ensures that we have a safe, healthy and fun environment for our fans while experiencing a great match at Rio Tinto Stadium," Real Salt Lake Chief Business Officer Andy Carroll said. "The health and safety of our players, fans, staff and community has been the top priority throughout our process in seeking creative solutions to safely open our stadium to fans. With safe distances between seats and other safety measures in place, we are proud and excited to welcome our fans back as the Monarchs return to the field in defense of their USL Championship title. We are very grateful to the thoughtful and steady leadership that we have in Salt Lake County and throughout Utah state government in providing this opportunity."
The last American professional sporting event with fans in attendance was an NBA game between the Denver Nuggets and Dallas Mavericks on March 11. Throughout that night and the following days, professional and collegiate sports leagues across the country suspended their seasons amid the global Covid-19 pandemic. The National Women's Soccer League was the first professional league to return to the field on Saturday when the North Carolina Courage topped the Portland Thorns at Zions Bank Stadium in Herriman, Utah. Two weeks later, Utah will host another significant milestone with fans in attendance.
Tickets will first be made available to season ticket members with Real Salt Lake, Real Monarchs SLC and Utah Royals FC. Remaining tickets will be made available to the general public.
The Monarchs return to play after playing just one match prior to the USL Championship postponing matches due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In its first outing, the defending USL Championship title-winners fell 1-0 to San Antonio FC on March 7. The match will also mark the first meeting between the Monarchs and expansion San Diego, who entered the league prior to the 2020 season.
In order to limit travel, the regular season sees the Championship's clubs divided into eight regionalized groups, with each team competing in a 16-game regular season. There are five groups made up of four teams, and three groups made up of five teams to cover the 35 member clubs of the Championship. Real Monarchs was placed in Group C alongside El Paso Locomotive FC, Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC and New Mexico United.
The regular season games will be played over 13 weeks, concluding on the weekend of October 2-4. Games completed prior to the season suspension in March will be counted and included in the schedule, with teams that were active on the opening weekend of the season having 15 games remaining in their schedule.
Both San Diego Loyal SC and the Tacoma Defiance - who completed two games prior to the season suspension - will have 14 games remaining in their respective schedules.
Tickets to Real Monarchs vs. San Diego Loyal SC will go on sale in the near future. For the most up-to-date information, contact a Real Monarchs ticketing representative at 844-REAL-TIX.
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