DC Struggling To Get Stadium Deal

DC Struggling To Get Stadium Deal

  • Posted by Drew Epperley
  • On March 25, 2009
  • 14 Comments
  • DC United Stadium, Prince George's County

Where have we seen this before for the Black-and-Red? Oh yeah, in their own city.

Now it looks like you can add Maryland to the list of places that DC United probably won’t get a stadium in.

A Prince George’s County Council committee yesterday recommended that the county oppose legislation that would launch planning for a stadium for the D.C. United soccer team.

In a 5 to 0 vote, with two abstentions, the council’s General Assembly committee recommended withholding support for a bill that would authorize the Maryland Stadium Authority to study the site and financing methods for the project. The bill would also allow design work to begin.

Back to the drawing board? Maybe…it seems like this is a never ending cycle for the club.

  • Mike

    I don't really know a whole lot about this issue, but I've just heard a lot of people saying that if the stadium deal keeps falling through, the team will be forced to move. Is there any chance of this actually happening? Lots of people joke about them becoming St. Louis United, but how much of this is speculation and how much actually possibility?

  • Mike

    I don’t really know a whole lot about this issue, but I’ve just heard a lot of people saying that if the stadium deal keeps falling through, the team will be forced to move. Is there any chance of this actually happening? Lots of people joke about them becoming St. Louis United, but how much of this is speculation and how much actually possibility?

  • joel es latest socce

    It would be great if they can finalize a SSS deal.

  • overmars

    they are the only residents of RFK stadium, which sits 50k+ they won't leave RFK/DC until they get another stadium.

  • Kevin

    Mike: If this stadium deal fails (PLEASE GOD! NO!!!!), then it is ALMOST a sure thing that United are moving to St. Louis.<br />
    <br />
    It's too bad the Wizards didn't move there 13 years ago…<br />
    <br />
    Oh, wait, that was the inaugural year of the league, wasn't it?

  • TCompton

    Kevin,<br />
    <br />
    (unless you're actually Kevin Payne) I don't think you can say that it is &quot;ALMOST a sure thing.&quot; Steve Goff from the Washington Post asked Victor MacFarlane about this scenerio on Tuesday. MacFarlane's response was: &quot;I don't even want to contemplate that. We would look at other alternatives before we got to that draconian stage.&quot;<br />
    <br />
    This morning Kevin Payne spoke to WTOP about this also, saying something along the lines of: DC United fans are loyal enough to go to a stadium that's not necessarily in PG County (or the District). <br />
    <br />
    So, to answer Mike's question, a move is certainly possible, but DC United would most like look at alternatives in the DC suburbs before moving to a city like St. Louis. The cost of re-branding and losing everything they've built over the last 13 years would most likely be too great for the team to consider moving to a new city when there was still an &quot;option&quot; for a local stadium.<br />
    <br />
    What we'd end up with is some strip/mall suburban version of a stadium that would not get the investment effort that an urban stadium would, considering it would not match the type of real estate investment that MacFarlane tends to pursue.<br />
    <br />
    As for the Prince Georges Co. Stadium, I suppose the effort is not dead, but the Prince George's County Council certainly didn't help the matters. <br />
    <br />
    It does seem eerily similar to what happened with the District through: Mayor Williams asked DC United to provide the District with a plan to rebuild Poplar Point. DC United spent a fortune doing this, only to have Mayor Fenty hand it back saying he wanted to put it out on competitive bid under completely different assumptions.<br />
    <br />
    This time around, County Rep. Jack Johnson brought DC United in, the Maryland Stadium Authority did an economic assessment showing support the stadium, and now the County Council is stepping back. <br />
    <br />
    I don't think that this political struggle should come as a surprise to anyone. Building stadiums is not all that popular in counties that have had to lay-off hundreds of police officers because the county can't afford to keep them. It's a delicate situation where DC United has to be persistent in making sure the press reports the facts accurately. This has apparently proved difficult.

  • Kevin

    TCompton-<br />
    <br />
    I certainly wasn't trying to suggest I have inside knowledge or anything, lol! But from what we've heard for YEARS now, it has been implied that should DCU fail to finalize a stadium deal, the team will be moving, probably to St. Louis. <br />
    <br />
    That IS great news that they are going to continue this endeavor. I read something a couple weeks ago that suggested that this was the last resort, and should this fail, a move was imminent. But I'm glad to hear that they are willing to stick it out for a while longer. We have to give them credit. They are doing as much as they can.<br />
    <br />
    And, if it weren't for those damn Redskins, we could just renovate RFK completely and stay forever, maybe playing a couple of seasons at FedEx Field while the stadium is being built (sounds awful, I know, but it would be worth it!).

  • It would be great if they can finalize a SSS deal.

  • overmars

    they are the only residents of RFK stadium, which sits 50k+ they won’t leave RFK/DC until they get another stadium.

  • Kevin

    Mike: If this stadium deal fails (PLEASE GOD! NO!!!!), then it is ALMOST a sure thing that United are moving to St. Louis.

    It’s too bad the Wizards didn’t move there 13 years ago…

    Oh, wait, that was the inaugural year of the league, wasn’t it?

  • TCompton

    Kevin,

    (unless you’re actually Kevin Payne) I don’t think you can say that it is “ALMOST a sure thing.” Steve Goff from the Washington Post asked Victor MacFarlane about this scenerio on Tuesday. MacFarlane’s response was: “I don’t even want to contemplate that. We would look at other alternatives before we got to that draconian stage.”

    This morning Kevin Payne spoke to WTOP about this also, saying something along the lines of: DC United fans are loyal enough to go to a stadium that’s not necessarily in PG County (or the District).

    So, to answer Mike’s question, a move is certainly possible, but DC United would most like look at alternatives in the DC suburbs before moving to a city like St. Louis. The cost of re-branding and losing everything they’ve built over the last 13 years would most likely be too great for the team to consider moving to a new city when there was still an “option” for a local stadium.

    What we’d end up with is some strip/mall suburban version of a stadium that would not get the investment effort that an urban stadium would, considering it would not match the type of real estate investment that MacFarlane tends to pursue.

    As for the Prince Georges Co. Stadium, I suppose the effort is not dead, but the Prince George’s County Council certainly didn’t help the matters.

    It does seem eerily similar to what happened with the District through: Mayor Williams asked DC United to provide the District with a plan to rebuild Poplar Point. DC United spent a fortune doing this, only to have Mayor Fenty hand it back saying he wanted to put it out on competitive bid under completely different assumptions.

    This time around, County Rep. Jack Johnson brought DC United in, the Maryland Stadium Authority did an economic assessment showing support the stadium, and now the County Council is stepping back.

    I don’t think that this political struggle should come as a surprise to anyone. Building stadiums is not all that popular in counties that have had to lay-off hundreds of police officers because the county can’t afford to keep them. It’s a delicate situation where DC United has to be persistent in making sure the press reports the facts accurately. This has apparently proved difficult.

  • Kevin

    TCompton-

    I certainly wasn’t trying to suggest I have inside knowledge or anything, lol! But from what we’ve heard for YEARS now, it has been implied that should DCU fail to finalize a stadium deal, the team will be moving, probably to St. Louis.

    That IS great news that they are going to continue this endeavor. I read something a couple weeks ago that suggested that this was the last resort, and should this fail, a move was imminent. But I’m glad to hear that they are willing to stick it out for a while longer. We have to give them credit. They are doing as much as they can.

    And, if it weren’t for those damn Redskins, we could just renovate RFK completely and stay forever, maybe playing a couple of seasons at FedEx Field while the stadium is being built (sounds awful, I know, but it would be worth it!).

  • TCompton

    @Kevin,<br />
    <br />
    RFK can't be renovated to be profitable to United. It lacks several of the amenities in modern stadiums that drive revenue, such as club level seating, premium box suites, or even a reliable electrical system. It doesn't really have anything to do with the Redskins, despite their desire to return to the District.<br />
    <br />
    FedEx would be option only in the short term, as it is way too big for DC United. <br />
    <br />
    I listened to &quot;recorded&quot; conversation with Kevin Payne again today on Behind the Badge. He talks briefly about the legislative process in a little more optimistic light, which is a little more reassuring. However, the discussion I was able to listen to in the live conversation about if the PG County stadium plan were to fail was not included included in the BTB recording.<br />
    <br />
    However, in the end the risk of the team moving is always there. The League desperately wants the team to get a new stadium. But, I've got my fingers crossed about the PG solution. I won't be holding my breath though.

  • TCompton

    @Kevin,

    RFK can’t be renovated to be profitable to United. It lacks several of the amenities in modern stadiums that drive revenue, such as club level seating, premium box suites, or even a reliable electrical system. It doesn’t really have anything to do with the Redskins, despite their desire to return to the District.

    FedEx would be option only in the short term, as it is way too big for DC United.

    I listened to “recorded” conversation with Kevin Payne again today on Behind the Badge. He talks briefly about the legislative process in a little more optimistic light, which is a little more reassuring. However, the discussion I was able to listen to in the live conversation about if the PG County stadium plan were to fail was not included included in the BTB recording.

    However, in the end the risk of the team moving is always there. The League desperately wants the team to get a new stadium. But, I’ve got my fingers crossed about the PG solution. I won’t be holding my breath though.