DC United in Talks to Build Stadium (Again)

Photo courtesy of
‘DC United at RFK – Now and Forever -5858’
courtesy of ‘Joe Tresh’

Now and forever, not so much? Washington Business Journal reports today that DC United CEO Kevin Payne has restarted his discussions with DC council member Jack Evans, D-Ward 2, and Delegate Eleanor Holmes-Norton, D-D.C., about the potential of a new soccer stadium being built in the district around Poplar Point near the Anacostia river. Payne’s been here before, as he was in talks several months ago with Mayor Fenty, but the Mayor abandoned talks when it was evident they could not possibly swing funding a project of this magnitude.

The hope of United officials is to build a 20,000-seat stadium costing at least $175 Million so they can leave the archaic RFK, where DC United has won 100 games in 13 seasons (not too shabby!) With their $1.2 Million lease expiring after the 2010 season, commissioner of Major League Soccer, Don Garber, suggested the team relocate if they can’t find adequate funding to build a new stadium. Booo!!!! Bad idea.

Some say that the project could work if the city provided land at Poplar Point and partial funding for the stadium using revenue rom taxes on ticket sales, concessions and parking, rent for use of the stadium, and the sale of naming rights. The other option would be to try one of our neighbors – Virginia, which is apparently where the majority of DC United fans hail from, or Maryland, where the team has a spotty track record since PG County rejected their idea some time ago. The problem here is that Virginia doesn’t have a public stadium authority to work with the team, and finding 12 acres to build a stadium that is metro accessible in Montgomery County could be pretty difficult, according to Councilman Mike Knapp, D-District 2.

I know my hometown of Toronto built a stadium just for its team, the Toronto FC, but they also have insane attendance records, from what I can gather. Chalk it up to the fact that there are so many European descendants living in that city or whatever, but I would hate to see DC United leave the district. VAAAAMOOOOOS…VAAAMOS UNITED!!!

Liam Darmody moved to DC in 2001 by way of Boston, Beverly Hills, and Toronto, Canada (his home and native land) to pursue his dream of becoming a politician. He changed his dream upon meeting actual politicians and has since been seen eating, drinking, shopping, golfing (poorly), blogging, and goofing off in general around our fair city. By day he works socially as a product manager, and by night he’s all over the place. Connect with him digitally via Twitter, Yelp, LinkedIn, or Facebook, or by e-mail at ldarmody at welovedc dot com.

5 thoughts on “DC United in Talks to Build Stadium (Again)

  1. We don’t like soccer in Anacostia. We like basketball and football. Since the majority of DC United Fans hail from Virginia, build the stadium there. Virginia can create a public stadium authority; Virginia needs the money for roads and other infrastructure projects.

  2. Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment (NHL+ NBA owners) & the City of Toronto built the stadium for Toronto FC. The stadium was built just west of the Downtown Core at the CNE an area of the City that was in need of a kick. And that is what it got. The Liberty Village area just north of the stadium has been booming and the restauraunts/bars/night clubs etc…have really felt the reward. People from the suburbs surrounding Toronto flock to the stadium and spend their money in the neighborhood – which is what can happen to Anacostia. Put it in the middle of a parking lot in the suburbs ie. Virgina and DC will have a missed opportunity.

    The crowds have nothing to do with the ehtnic diversity of Toronto…the crowds are generally pretty young 20’s/30’s second + third generation who have grown up with & played soccer their entire lives. Soccer has become the second most popular sport in our country behind Hockey.

  3. Holding the city hostage to build a *soccer* stadium? Sure, for football or baseball, but not for soccer.

    I’d love to see the city help with a downtown stadium for D.C. United, but United’s got to pay most if not all of the construction costs. How sweet would a 15,000 seat band-box for soccer be, right there on that parking lot near where the Kastles play?

  4. After looking at a few more articles I’d like to know where the $175M figure comes from. That new stadium in Toronto cost 72M (CAD); the soccer-specific stadium in Columbus that opened ten years ago cost about half that much. The whole Commerce City complex in Colorado cost $131M, including retail and a youth soccer complex. A soccer-specific stadium on its own shouldn’t cost anywhere near $175M.

    The team needs to aim much lower. They have a much better chance of success if the whole price tag is small enough that the project might actually get built, provided they only ask the city for something it can actually pay for (say, the land, and maybe parking lot construction or something). $175M pays for a crown jewel soccer stadium, and that’s just not going to happen.