Latest News

Women's History Month: Stacey Taggart

1920x1080_WomensHistory2022_stacy copy

Stacey Taggart never intended to work in sports.

But as she looked out over the group of men celebrating underneath the confetti and champagne showers she felt a sense of pride, the culmination of seemingly insignificant moments which led to her watching as the 2019 USL Western Conference Trophy raised was high in the center of Zions Bank Stadium.

As Taggart likes to say she, “fell into sports.”

After earning a broadcast degree, she pursued a career in television news, but quickly realized it was completely wrong for her.

“I absolutely hated it,” Taggart said. “I had no idea what I wanted to do, but I knew I didn’t want to be there.”

It was by happenstance that a former university classmate was working with the Utah Jazz and Real Salt Lake as the video director. Knowing Taggart was unhappy and trying to figure out her next career steps, said friend invited her to come work some games as a freelancer.

After several months working as a freelancer the Club announced the addition of Real Monarchs, and suddenly a full-time position became available.

“Once again, it was never my plan to work in sports full-time, but I really enjoyed the work and was excited about the prospect of getting to build something from the ground up. Having grown up in a basketball family I was pleasantly surprised with how much I liked soccer and was not ready to give that up.”

As the Real Monarchs Game Presentation Manager, she was originally hired to put together the on-field entertainment, running the video boards, while organizing the performers and game timeline. But halfway through the first season she was tasked with taking over all the socials and digital platforms, skills she hadn’t used since college.

“I was very much learning on the go, I remember being in a hotel in Costa Rica troubleshooting how to create graphics,” Taggart said. “But it was fun. At the beginning Rob Zarkos challenged us, asking, “Why do we have to do the things the way they have always been done?” So, we threw out the traditional way of doing things and decided to try things and have fun with it.'

By doing so Taggart was able to create a unique atmosphere, unlike that of Real Salt Lake games. Families could come and shoot a ball into a giant blow-up rat on the field, or listen to a mariachi band all the while getting to watch a professional soccer game.

Taggart was one of the very first hires for the Real Monarchs arm of the organization. So, when the team won the Western Conference Final in 2019 it felt a bit like a parent watching their kid go off to college.

“There was nothing more we could do; we had spent years putting in countless hours into this team and now they were off to compete for a championship. It was an incredibly surreal feeling, and all I could do was sit in the stands and watch as the celebrations unfolded beneath me,” Taggart recalled.

The celebrations would be short-lived, as several short months later the coronavirus reared its ugly head and put an automatic halt to the sports world. Taggart was one of the many impacted by the pandemic, sent on furlough while the leagues tried to figure out the best way forward. When the sports world finally did come back it was done so without many who had spent their careers in the industry, unfortunate pitfalls in the financial ruin. Among them was Taggart’s boss and Real Salt Lake’s point for game presentation.

Thus, Taggart was once again thrust into a job she had no plan of doing, at least not at this stage in her life.

“I literally hit the ground running,’ Taggart said. “My first game as the Real Salt Lake lead was following the death of Jacob Blake and the resulting protest around the sporting world that saw so many organizations put pause to their matches.”

But that moment was indicative of how most of her career at Real Salt Lake had been, unplanned incidents that have led to career-defining moments and opportunities.

Now, more than two years later, Taggart directs all game presentation for Real Salt Lake, overseeing all the Club’s soccer matches, while also working with visiting events like national teams, Liga MX, rugby, and lacrosse.

So, when you are at the next Real Salt Lake game and the pyrotechnics go off, and the national anthem begins to play, take a glance at the glass box on the West side of Rio Tinto Stadium and know it’s Taggart at the center of it all.