Real Salt Lake has seen a surge in matchday revenue since the installation of a new contactless payment system at the Major League Soccer (MLS) club’s Rio Tinto Stadium.

The club said food and drink purchases are up 30 per cent in 2021 at the 20,000-capacity arena compared to the last regular season.

Real added that new food additions and having various types of food and beverage options located strategically throughout the stadium has given fans the option to purchase their favourite foods in a timely manner without missing large portions of the match.

Levy Restaurants, the venue’s food and beverage partner, said the speed of contactless payments has been a major factor in the spending rise.

Matt Mednick, Levy’s director of operations, said: “During the pandemic we were forced to go to a cash and contact free environment. Now that this has become normal we are seeing a tremendous benefit to this in terms of speed of service to the guest.

“Knowing all of the things we know now following a really difficult year we’ve been able to implement a speed of service initiative with a ‘grab-and-go’ model where we have our most popular items at each of our locations within the stadium can be picked up and paid for in as little time as possible.”

New to the food selection line-up at Rio Tinto Stadium is R&R Barbeque – a popular local restaurant – that opened for the first time at Rio Tinto Stadium ahead of RSL’s match against Minnesota United FC in May. The club said that through partnerships with local vendors it has been able to create menu items that fans will enjoy having been tailored specifically for the stadium.

Spending at the MLS outfit’s team store has also risen exponentially over the last two seasons after sales increased by nearly 100 per cent, a rise that seemed nigh on impossible at the beginning of the season.

Thomas Warren, the club’s director of merchandise, said: “2021 has been our best year to date since I started before the 2018 season.

“The overall atmosphere of the club as a whole has contributed to our stores success tremendously.”

Image: Jeremy Piehler / Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC 2.0) / Cropped for size