Last week was a big week for the executive side of Real Salt Lake, Utah’s major league soccer team. Original team owner Dave Checketts sold his share of the club to Dell Loy Hansen, who had been the majority owner along with Checketts.
One day later, at a private ceremony, Major League Soccer Commissioner Don Garber presented RSL President Bill Manning (above, right) with the prestigious Doug Hamilton Award, which recognizes him as the 2012 Major League Soccer Executive of the Year. The award honors RSL’s “growth and excellent metrics in key business areas, including ticket sales and retention, corporation sponsorship revenue and activation, and local television ratings.”
“Under Bill’s direction, Real Salt Lake has shown consistent, steady growth and the club has excelled both on and off the field, across a number of different competitions,” said Garber. “The club’s metrics in key business areas can be directly attributed to Bill and his hardworking and dedicated front office staff. The atmosphere inside Rio Tinto Stadium – a true home-field advantage – is among the best in Major League Soccer.”
The University of Bridgeport alum started his sports career in 1993 with the Continental Indoor Soccer League. Between 1994 and 2002, Manning managed four different teams in the United Soccer League and Major League Soccer. Manning then played a key role in opening the Toyota Center when he joined the NBA’s Houston Rockets in 2003. It was 2008 when Manning took over the helm of Real Salt Lake, and later the duties as President of Rio Tinto Stadium.
“First and foremost, any of these honors would not be possible without the incredible passion and commitment of our dedicated fan base,” said Manning. “This award is really a reflection of the great staff we have here at Real Salt Lake, they make me look good every day.”
To prove that, several of RSL’s ticket sales representatives were “recognized for their efforts to build and maintain an ever-deepening culture for the sport on the Wasatch Front.” RSL earned one of five “President’s Club” honors for ticket sales, with between 7,500 and 11,999 Full Season Ticket packages. With a 90 percent-plus season ticket renewal rate, RSL’s ticket staff also earned the “Commissioner’s Club” recognition.
Aside from Manning, a handful of ticket sales representatives from RSL were also honored for a job well done: Brent Stevens, Andy Atwood, Philip Dahl, Nick Hansen and Teddy Sprout. Those recognized for Group Tickets sales include Matt Rader, Scot Reynolds, Mike Demko and Jen Petrosky.