Possible Study In Baltimore To Construct Two Stadiums

The city of Baltimore in the state of Maryland; has everything you want in a fabulous downtown area. The seafood in the marina, historic buildings and museums, the Aquarium and of course their great history in their professional sports teams like the Oriorles of Major League Baseball & currently the Ravens of the National Football League. Baltimore also hosts some good amateur soccer clubs that are tough in the MSSA (Maryland State Soccer Association) in the US Adult Soccer Association.

But when I woke up this morning on Wednesday, November 4th to take a look at the internet on football stories, this came across my monitor and I was very shocked to read this. As we all know one of the key topics that I have stressed to keep MLS & USL alive is all the clubs build their own stadiums and stop paying rent for facilities that they don’t own. 

We are aware of DC United wanting to get out of RFK Stadium as it is ready to fall on its own & in recent past the city of  Baltimore outstretched their arms to bring DC United to their great city. But now an article comes out by Lorraine Mirabella from the Baltimore Sun that has Crystal Palace’s USA side in the USL-2nd Division wanting their own stadium to be built as well as construction for a DC United stadium. This is fantastic news to hear that a study which will cost $125,000 & the city will pay 40% of it, will be researched and discussed to have two clubs play in the same city with their own houses.

The Maryland Stadium Authority will study a 7,000 seat stadium (15 Acers) for Crystal Palace Baltimore in the Carroll Camden Industrial Park area while DC United’s stadium that will be bigger capacity wise will be studied in the Westport Waterfront section between 17,000 to 20,000 seats. Sheila Dixon who is the Mayor of Baltimore asked the office of the Stadium Authority to study the projects for two sepeaate stadiums for the lower division side and the historic top flight club that wants to leave RFK Stadium right away. The idea for this study is to see if these projects can be built and financed to be self supporting for economic development.

As we all know there has always been a political blockade to construct stadiums for the game here in this country. Many times I have documented on the problems here in the state of New Jersey that it was a pain to have any form of red tape block the construction of this stadium for the Metro till Red Bull came. Or how about Prince George’s County in Maryland that had all the pomp & circumstance with DC United to construct a stadium, till they chickened out and refused to create a study for it.

This is fantastic news to hear coming from Baltimore that not only one stadium is on the discussion table but two for the possibility of growing the game the proper way in the United States. While I’m assuming the athletic field at the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC) was a nice place to be, seeing the pictures of the grounds is not a proper stadium for any club in the professional leagues of football here in this country. I hope that both clubs will get their wishes granted and we who support the game in this country will feel better towards this positive progress.


24 thoughts on “Possible Study In Baltimore To Construct Two Stadiums”

  1. Do you know why I don’t sing? Because I’m not good at it. I recognize that I’m not good at it, so I don’t do it. See how that works?

  2. Build away but don’t you dare ask us to eat it from tax revenue. No more stadiums should be built and paid for by taxpayers when we can’t fund schools in Baltimore. That goes from MLS to NFL. Let’s get some REAL change in the city before we spend any more on corporate handouts.

    1. The difference is this.
      A stadium will in the end generate revenue for the city. A school will soak up tax dollars with no return.

      School = 100% tax dollar ran. More schools = Higher taxes, with salaries paid by taxes.
      Stadium = Partially tax dollar ran, with private investors. Salaries paid by the private investor.

      Your school problems are HOW the money is being used. Adding more tax dollars to situation is basically adding more fuel to the fire.

      see my point?

      If its BmoreEducaded as in “be more educated”, I guess you need a basic economics class.
      If it’s BmoreEducaded as in “baltimore educated”, I guess they really do need to fix the schools.

  3. This just adds to my depression for the week… I guess I am supposed to be glad that someone seems to be showing interest in building the franchise a stadium, but why does it have to be in Baltimore? If the team moves, what happens to the history? Does the team keep the name D.C. United? Probably not. Will the great supporters groups La Barra Brava and Screaming Eagles follow the team to D.C. Some will, most won’t. A new franchise name will probably be chosen if they move to D.C. I keep hoping this might spur the D.C. government to start talking with D.C. United, but that is not likely.

    Moving to Baltimore means you essentially lose everything, the history, the fans, the atmosphere, everything. The 4 MLS Cups and 8 other domestic and international trophies will belong to a team that no longer exists in MLS if this move happens. I want the organization to do everything possible to stay in the D.C. area.

    1. One of MLS’ great success stories would be destroyed with this move. I am against it entirely.

      DCU supporters are pure class and don’t deserve this.

  4. Amazing news that an east coast city wants to have multiple DOWNTOWN stadiums for soccer. A real step forward in the perception of the sport in this country. I am terribly saddened to hear that United is considering moving in this proposition though. I agree with the posts above, if United moves the history will be gone and a new club (no matter if they retain the name or not) will begin to exist. The league at one point in time I don’t think could have survived a much such as this, but with success’ in Seattle, LA, and Toronto it seems United is very much expendable. Sad news to me…

    1. No team in the league which has had 14,000 to 17,000 fans show up on a consistent basis for 14 years should be considered expendable. Toronto and Seattle are great stories, but they have only been in the league for a very short amount of time. D.C. United has the greatest fan base and literally rock RFK stadium on the television side. All of that goes away if this team moves away from the D.C. area. Unless the team is close to financial collapse, they need to be in D.C.

  5. Two things:

    1. These aren’t possible studies, they are actual studies
    2. Why was it a shock? Two letters were sent to the MSA weeks ago asking for a study. These stories just confirmed that the board voted to do the studies.

  6. well if DC United stay in RFK then the team will go bankrupt. They were promised a stadium by the politicians and never got it. I don’t blame them if they move. If DC loses United then it is D.C. Fault.

  7. Eric: The reason it was a shock to me was this. I already knew about Baltimore extending a hand to DC United, but I never knew that Crystal Palace Baltimore was actually asking for a stadium themselves. To be fair this is news to me and to many others outside of the Baltimore,DC area that wasn’t expecting this.

    I honestly believe that if DC United does move to Baltimore they won’t change their name and the history won’t be removed. Yes Baltimore stands as their own city, but of course they are always looped in with the DC area. The Baltimore-Washington International Airport (BWI) Everyone commutes to DC from Baltimore with the Metro trains.

    I honestly don’t believe the name of the club will be gone. I also don’t believe the history will be gone either. That’s up to Kevin Payne if he truly wants to get rid of it. I believe he won’t.

  8. Baltimore has a lot of pride, and they also have a serious inferiority complex when it comes to DC. There is no way anyone in Baltimore will stand for a DC team moving to their city and not fully embracing the move, including a name change. Just my humble opinion. I for one think this city is a hot mess, and does not need to be taking on this kind of project, but it is a good sign for the sport in general.

    1. I agree fully. Having lived in Baltimore 12 years ago, and having just moved back, it’s really important to Baltimoreans to be different from DC. To be honest, they don’t have to try that hard since the places are like night and day (I’ve lived in DC as well). If anyone thinks Mayor Dixon, or any subsequent B’more mayor, is going to do the work to build a stadium and then let a team labelled “DC” play there without a fight, they’re deluding themselves. That would probably cause more ire than the fiscal repercussions of the contruction. I can hear it now – “we’re building a SOCCER stadium for some team from DC? This is a football/baseball town!” Never mind the Baltimore Bays, UMBC, Loyola, etc. All that gets erased on the sports and opinion pages.

  9. As a proud Baltimorean, I am all for both moves.

    However, everyone must be aware that if DC United move here, it’ll effectively be the end of what we know of DC United.

    A HUGE point that most people are missing is there is no MARC Commuter Train travel on the weekends from DC to Baltimore, so the DC crowds will not use Amtrak (which is often twice the price) and thus not be traveling up to Bmore.

    1. Perhaps “Parkway United” – for the BW Parkway, linking Baltimore and DC. I suppose that is too lame to consider. I’m certain that if United moves to Baltimore the name will change to reflect that move. Surely a large measure of greatitude will be due the host city.

      DelMarVA United? It just gets worse and worse.

      I lived in No. VA for about 14 years, including the life span of the NASL Diplomats. Marylanders in general — save some who live within the 495 Beltway — do not hold DC in high regard. A team playing in Baltimore with a DC moniker will not be appreciated.

  10. TG, the state is working on funding MARC trains seven days a week starting with the Penn Line and followed by the Camden Line. I hope that should the Baltimore move go through, the MARC service would be increased by the time the new stadium is complete.

    On another topic, with regards to the team name and history, it would make the most sense to keep the “United” name, just change it to “Baltimore United.” Keep the history intact.

    I highly doubt that DC would get an expansion team any time soon if they lose United so there won’t be any confusion. The stadium situation would salt the earth for any new MLS team for decades. What new owner-investor would want to try to wade the murky political waters in the region after seeing how United was treated? Virginia is a total no-go for anything other than McMansions and strip malls because they have no state level stadium authority like Maryland to consolidate and manage regulations and bonding. Their rules are also very NIMBY-friendly. The second anyone complains about “traffic,” the local elected officials back down, regardless of what the economic study says. We already know about the double-crossing cheap political grandstanding in the District and Prince George’s. That leaves Montgomery, which while feasible, could take years.

    As far as fanbase, United would be successful in Baltimore. They’d lose most of their Virginia fans and a few District fans. Most Maryland-based fans would still show up since while Baltimore is another region, it’s not far and we don’t equate it with being on the opposite end of the universe like the exurban Virginians. Those lost fans would be more than made up for by new Baltimore fans. Baltimore is a major city with a very long history and vibrant soccer community. They can support their own sports teams no problem.

    The whole thing is sad. While I live in Maryland, I’m a Washingtonian. I live in Silver Spring. Where I live, we regard Baltimore as our neighbor, not as our home. I’ll still go to United games but it won’t be the same. Not necessarily worse, just not the same.

    1. Really spot on points Cavan, especially about NoVa.

      But MD has been looking into weekend MARC lines for years. The problem is Amtrak and CSX own the lines and don’t want the state cutting in on their profits. Maryland should really do what Massachusetts recently did and just purchase the rail lines.

      And although I am glad that you would trek to Baltimore, I really worry many won’t. Lets face it — the clientele in DC is night and day from Baltimore. And many of my friends and friends’ friends who live in DC rarely come to Charm City because of the (bogus) stigma about the city’s violence.

  11. Obviously as a Seattle guy, I am not for teams moving because they held-up a city to put up money or we will move. I don’t know that it has gotten to that point, but it is starting to resemble it.

    TG, I have to ask, “being for both moves “, although you don’t really seem that way…..you still a Colts fan?

    Maybe it doesn’t work in DC, they have had the same attendance for many years now and no one likes their stadium,

    BUT, that would be a shame, IMHO.

  12. Good to see a city stepping up in support of soccer by exploring stadiums on two levels of the game, but DCU CANNOT be moved from Washington. It just wouldn’t be right. CPB appears poised to move up to USL-1 soon, and that’s a better fit for Baltimore IMO.

    United needs to remain in DC, whatever it takes. I have a solution: do a trade with Daniel Synder. I heard he wants to build a uber-dome of some sort for the ‘Skins at the RFK site, so maybe he can give DC United FedEx Field. Knock the upper deck off and bam, instant(more or less) SSS. As someone who has lost an MLS team, I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. I feel bad for SuperSonics fans in Seattle the way they got robbed. Keep DCU in DC!

    1. Miami Ultra, USL-1 is not a better fit for Baltimore. Baltimore is a major league city by any measurement. It’s one of the cradles of American civilization and supports major sports teams in other leagues enthusiastically. It would be a great place for an expansion team in the future and would support them. A Baltimore team (other than a relocated DCU) would be instant rivals with United, the Union, and the Red Bulls. It would be great for the league. Baltimore is a major city that is comparable in size to Washington and Boston. The Washington Metro area is quoted as 5 million by the Census Bureau. However, that is somewhat deceiving. The Census Bureau includes places that have little ties to the District of Columbia except for a few Extreme Commuters. Places like Stafford County, Virginia, Faquir (sp?) County, Virginia, western Loudoun County, Virginia, southern Charles and St. Mary’s Counties, Maryland, Frederick County, MD, Washington County, MD and the eastern panhandle of West Virginia are counted by the Census Bureau as part of metropolitan Washington. The Baltimore region is not counted as liberally. It only includes Baltimore, Baltimore County, Carroll County, Howard County, the western half of Harford County, and the northern half of Anne Arundel County. Using those metrics, Census estimates about 2.5 million. However, the population distributions within a radius of the two downtowns is very similar. The Washington region only looks bigger because Census counts it very liberally and the Baltimore region very conservatively. In truth, the two cities are similarly populated. Both are similarly sized as Boston.

      Baltimore sports fans tend to be very passionate like Philadelphia fans, just with less vitriol. Except for DC United fans and Redskins fans (although that’s changing due to the Redskins awful ownership but that’s a whole other topic), Washington fans tend to be incredibly fair weather. Kind of like New York fans. It would be a great place for an MLS team. Hopefully not United. They deserve their own.

      Charles, it’s not that we don’t like RFK. Actually, we love it. It’s got a great location and decent sightlines. The problem is that since United doesn’t and won’t ever control the stadium, they will never collect revenue from concessions and parking. The parking isn’t as big of a deal since half of the fanbase takes the Metro anyway. The concessions is huge. We buy a lot of beer ;). Consequently, is not possible for them to ever break even there.

      On top of that, the stadium was opened in 1960. Stadiums, especially the modernist concrete kind like RFK have a 50 year life span. At that point, they either need to be torn down or renovated. The stadium is literally starting to crumble. RFK stadium was built by the federal government before the District of Columbia had home rule. In the late 1950’s when RFK construction funding was being passed through Congress, the District had no self-governance whatsoever. It was literally a fiefdom of Congress. After the District was granted home rule, Congress agreed to let the city manage the stadium. The stadium and all land underneath the stadium and its related facilities are still owned by the federal government under the National Park Service. Part of the agreement to let the District manage RFK is that once the stadium is either vacant or condemned, whichever comes first, all land reverts back to the National Park Service and Congress. It would require a subsequent Act of Congress to do anything else on that land. Consequently, the District of Columbia has absolutely zero incentive to put any money into renovations since they will never own it. That is why RFK has always been a temporary home.

      While I wish it was as simple as trading geographic places with the Redskins, reality isn’t so clean. The stadium situation is a quagmire and looks to stay that way for the foreseeable future, for reasons I briefly alluded to in my earlier comment. If Mr. Chang and the league decide to bite on moving to Baltimore, I get it. I wouldn’t even be upset with them for it. I would get it. I’d be sad but I’d get it. I’d still go to weekend games. It wouldn’t be the same and it would never feel like my team anymore but I’d still go and cheer because it would still be an excellent value for my entertainment and soccer dollar.

      Charles, it has most certainly worked in DC, except for the stadium. Years before there was an MLS Seattle Sounders, there was the great fans for DC United. There still are. Your organization would not be so successful without the DC Uniteds and Columbus Crews and Chicago Fires etc. that laid the foundation and provided a canvas for you guys to make your own mark on. An attendance in the 15-20k range is plenty to be profitable if you control your own revenue streams. Just ask RSL, FC Dallas, the LA Galaxy, and the other teams with SSS’s. I ask that you don’t act like you’re the sh*t just because you are a model expansion team.

      I’ve really learned that it’s pretty much impossible to explain all the twists and turns of the DCU stadium saga to people who aren’t from the east coast. The politics are a completely different animal. Just ask NYRB fans about all the red tape and nonsense they had to go through to get ground broken on Red Bull Arena. Add on to that a region that is politically unique with three unique jurisdictions plus the federal government thrown in and you get this quagmire. I dunno. I guess we’re just frustrated enough about it that we really don’t want to hear johnny-come-lately Sounders fans telling us that our team “just isn’t working.” All MLS fans are ecstatic about your success out there. However, the only thing worse than a sore loser is a sore winner.

  13. Nice one, Cavan. Seattle’s problem is not so much triumphalism as it is sneering superiority. That’s funny because places that I identify as “hip” tend to be quiet and effortless about it.

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