Real Salt Lake is a 12th American professional soccer franchise that competes as a member club of Major League Soccer (MLS) Western Conference, representing Salt Lake City. On July 14, 2004, Major League Soccer officially awarded its 12th franchise to the ownership group SCP Worldwide. That’s how the state of Utah got the professional club, which joined the MLS in 2005.
Much credit goes to Dave Checketts, an American businessman and former president of the Utah Jazz. He was the one who persuaded the league’s authorities to make a franchise deal with his hometown. Checketts wanted to name the team Real Salt Lake right from the start: Checketts, who’d traveled Europe extensively during his time heading up NBA International and marketing basketball around the world, grew to admire Real Madrid.
The team conducted a public poll in Salt Lake Tribune, which showed support for Pioneers and Highlanders. Almost 40% of locals chose the name Highlanders (2200 votes). Pioneers occupied the second place, and Real Salt Lake turned out to be on the fourth position outdone only by Alliance and Glory. It didn’t influence on Dave Checketts’s decision: he asked Real Madrid authorities for permission to use the name.
Adjunct “Real,” which means “royal,” is typical for Spain’s teams, which got the reigning monarch’s patronage. Fans didn’t like it, though. Despite the plenty of criticism, the team did an official launch with the new name – Real Salt Lake – at Rice-Eccles Stadium in October 2004.
The team’s then-owner also made another crucial branding decision for the launch: incorporating both red and blue into the team’s jerseys, which were the same colors as FC Barcelona had. Salt Lake City served as ground zero for an intense college football rivalry between the University of Utah (red) and Brigham Young University (blue). The team colors sought to bridge that divide and make RSL everyone’s team.
In 2006, the owner decided to move the franchise to St. Louis, because government officials refused to fund the new stadium in the state of Utah. However, the relocation didn’t take place. Real Madrid complied with Dave Checketts’s request and made the local authority build the stadium. Under the public’s pressure, the authorities provided funding for Rio Tinto Stadium, so Real stayed in its hometown. In 2013, there was a change of the owner – Checketts sold his stake in Real Salt Lake to minority owner Dell Loy Hansen.
Meaning and History
This soccer club got two logos. Real Salt Lake logos highlight the royal status and reflect the official color scheme, borrowed from FC Barcelona. Both logos have a similar design, but they differ in minor details. The second version of the Real Salt Lake logo had a silver star in honor of the won MLS Cup in 2009.
2006 – 2009
Debut Real Salt Lake logo is designed as a cobalt blue triangular shield with three outlines of claret red and real gold colors. The lower corner features the stylized soccer ball with geometric patterns of various colors. There is an encircled monogram “RSL” above it, which stands for the team’s initial letters.
The word “Real” with a thin outline takes the upper part of the shield. Letters “R,” “A,” “L,” are uppercase, and “е” is lowercase. Their size on the Real Salt Lake emblem points at the right pronunciation of a Spanish word and rules out the associations with the English word “real.” There’s an imperial crown above the letter “E” – a symbol of the soccer club’s peculiar status. “Salt Lake” is under “AL.” The font of all inscriptions is serif.
2010 – present
After the team’s win in the MLS Cup (in 2009), Dave Checketts decided to add the silver pentagonal star to the Real Salt Lake logo. While working on the logo, designers made insignificant adjustments to the other details as well. They scaled down the heraldic shield, removed the phrase “Real Salt Lake” and the encircled monogram “RSL.” The crown became bigger, and it’s above the letter “R” now.