After the dust cleared from the Boom Scare another announcement came crawling through the grapevine. There really was a man who was willing to fork out $1 million to bring an MLS team to Salt Lake in 2005. Dave Checketts, who had already made a name for himself locally through his work with the Utah Jazz back in the early days of pro basketball in Salt Lake, now wanted to add another pro sports franchise to his hometown.
A press conference was scheduled for July 14th at the University of Utah's Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake. The meeting was said to closed to the public. So, for some reason I didn't go. Looking back I know I could have gotten in. Anyways, that was an historic meeting. It was there that the news was made official. League Commissioner Don Garber was there along with Checketts to share in the announcement. No other details were made public at that time except for that the team would play at Rice-Eccles for it's first few seasons. We had no team name, no colors, no players to rally around. When addressing the subject of the name and identity of the team Checketts said that there was not one set, but with a glint in his eye mentioned that he had "regal" aspirations for the team. I didn't think much of the comment until the post meeting teleconference call. Checketts was addressed with the question of how much he knew of the sport. He mentioned that he had been to Europe and seen the operations of a several teams which he named. Then he got to Real Madrid and said with a pause that he was "very...very impressed with the operation there." It was then that I knew where Checketts was taking the identity of Salt Lake's soccer team.
Now I won't be so arrogant as to say that I knew at that very moment he was going to use the Real name, but I knew that he was going to use Real Madrid as a model. When a list of prospective names came out the pit in my stomach grew. In the weeks between the expansion announcement and the name announcement I grew more apprehensive. With each news story the name Real kept appearing. My concern grew so much that I wrote to the editors of both Salt Lake papers hoping to get my voice heard. It was imperative that Salt Lake have their own identity and not borrow that of an established team with over a century of tradition. Alas, neither paper published my plea for reason.
Then the day came for the name and colors to be revealed.