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What A New Stadium Deal Would Mean for DC United Fans

Major League Soccer team DC United moved a step closer to a new stadium deal last week that could see the team leave RFK Stadium, their home since 1996.

When news broke that Chelsea and AS Roma were going to play at RFK Stadium this summer, my heart sank because going to RFK each time is becoming more of an intolerable experience.

As other teams in Major League Soccer have built brand-new soccer stadiums, it’s upsetting that one of the most successful teams in the league — one that put MLS on the map in this country — still doesn’t have its own home.

RFK Stadium was meant for American football, and has even supported baseball. Both the Nationals and Redskins franchises) have long since gotten newer and more modern facilities but somehow DC government has dragged their feet to get DC United a place to play.

Two years ago, I went to see DC United play Everton at RFK Stadium. One of the Everton supporters I met was angry that he came all the way from New Jersey only to have his seat break as he sat on it. On top of the crumbling seats, the stadium is dark and smelly in places, while the plumbing often doesn’t work and the overpriced food selection is poor.

A new stadium for DC United and this region would do so much for soccer in the area.  The area under consideration is still Metro subway friendly and across from the Nationals Stadium, which means fans will have easy access to and from games as well as much better seating. In addition to that, a new stadium will give DC a chance to host more soccer events in the area including more US men’s national team matches. Plus there’s always the opportunity to host special events to generate more revenue for MLS.

With a new stadium, it’ll give DC United the opportunity to improve attendances. If the Nationals can do it in their new stadium, so can DC United.

Before the deal is completed, there’ll undoubtedly be some political maneuverings that will transpire. But hopefully a deal will be completed soon otherwise the team may have to leave the area, which will be a shame for this great MLS franchise.

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  1. Joe

    August 2, 2013 at 9:27 am

    The most clear reason why the stadium is a bad deal for DC –

  2. David G

    July 30, 2013 at 2:01 pm

    DC had a budget surplus of $417 million dollars last year and I’m not one who thinks my historically low taxes all are wasted as I use the Metro, Drive on Streets, etc, appreciate my garbage pickup, schools, police/fire officers very much.

    I do think RFK is a particularly bad place to watch a soccer match and would probably go to more games if the stadium was better.

    I DO NOT think I should pay to help a already billionaire make even more money.

    DC already has highest office rental cost and some of the highest rental/house costs in America.

    I’d much rather see more affordable office space, housing, and a expansion of the trolley lines in Anacastia and H Street NE for my 200 million instead of help line Erik Thoir’s pockets.

    If United want to leave fine…what’s been stopping them all this time?

    I don’t see why Arsenal, a club that is thousands of times more popular, successful, and has a much more ingrained place in their local community can build their own stadium but I have to help pay for DC United to make more money.

  3. Stuart

    July 30, 2013 at 10:38 am

    • Harry Cee

      July 30, 2013 at 12:15 pm

      It would be really cool if your link worked. All I get is a timeout error.

    • CTBlues

      July 30, 2013 at 12:49 pm

      $200m is a lot less than the $700m paid for the Nationals stadium. The writer just sounds like bitter tax and spend democrate. Guess what if you want businesses to come/stay in your city or town you have to make concessions. If this stadium doesn’t get built guess what DCU will leave like the Redskins did and they won’t have any revenue at all.

      • David G

        July 30, 2013 at 1:00 pm

        The revenue provided by sports team never cover the cost. DC residents getting ripped off to the tune of $700 million doesn’t mean getting ripped off for only $200 million is considered a good thing.

        We’re still getting ripped off.

      • Harry Cee

        July 30, 2013 at 1:01 pm

        yeah, I just LOVE how the Redskins claim WASHINGTON but yet play in MARYLAND and practice somewhere in VIRGINIA.

        And if people keep getting upset about new facilities built for sports teams, then cool, let those teams leave and go to another city that appreciates them.

        And David, if you have been to games over at RFK you really can’t say that you enjoy that raggedy facility. It’s an embarrassment to this city that it still stands and functions. If you think people should buy the team, then why don’t you kick off a campaign…and tag me on a link and I actually may consider getting in.

        …I’ll wait.

        • yespage

          July 30, 2013 at 1:11 pm

          This is a good point. We need to support the billionaires that own these franchises. These billionaires are having a hard time making ends meet. It isn’t enough to spend money on tickets, jerseys, etc… we need to pay for the stadiums too. It is much cheaper for a bunch of proles to pay for a stadium than a single billionaire.

          • CTBlues

            July 30, 2013 at 1:16 pm

            You people live in DC you think your tax dollars are going to things you don’t like or use. I know I would rather my tax dollars wasted on something I enjoy than something I don’t.

          • yespage

            July 30, 2013 at 1:40 pm

            Enjoy? The dollars don’t exist in the first place to spend.

  4. David G

    July 30, 2013 at 9:22 am

    This is a terrible deal for the city. I don’t know why I am paying to make some already wealthy person more money.

    I’ve already contacted city officials to let them know I don’t want any of my tax dollars going to a soccer field

    • Harry Cee

      July 30, 2013 at 10:08 am

      Why is it a terrible deal?

      • David G

        July 30, 2013 at 12:03 pm

        Why is it a terrible deal? Because it gives money to some entity so they can make more profits while giving nothing back to the taxpayers.

        DC tax payers would be better off giving each resident a VISA card with $300 on it with the ability to only spend that $300 in Washington DC.

        Even if we take what all economists say are lousy deals for cities out of it (cause who wants common sense when it comes to making decisions)..

        I’ll pay for a stadium and the tickets will only get more expensive. Sign me up!

        • Harry Cee

          July 30, 2013 at 12:13 pm

          Ok, so we are just trolling here aren’t we?
          You aren’t even a sports fan are you?

          • David G

            July 30, 2013 at 12:19 pm

            I went to the United game Saturday against New England.

            I already pay for tickets, why should I pay for a stadium when lots of people in DC live in poverty?

            Seriously United are worth an estimated 50 million dollars but the city is going to spend 150-200 (no way that will be final cost) to build United a stadium so the Erick Thohir can make more money? Really? How about the tax payers build me a new house so I don’t have to pay mortgage and thus increase my profits every month?

            Or better yet, forget building United a new stadium so and lets just buy the team. It would be cheaper than building a Billionaire a new stadium so he can get richer.

        • Rik N

          July 30, 2013 at 6:01 pm

          David, DC is going to use $150-$200 million. It is not cash that they have on hand, or the idea of giving VISA cards out is feasible. They will not spend a dime on the stadium construction. They will own the land that it is built on. They will earn money on taxes for the land, the stadium, the Reeves center construction, as well as any other development spurned by this. Any profit that DC United makes will be halved and handed to DC government. In fact, as the deal stands, as long as you didn’t pay taxes during the 1970s you will only be paying for the paychecks of the people working on the deal which is what you are already doing, and is a positive in the long run with a short term economic cost to the government, not the tax payer.

          Read the document, or just a synopsis of it before getting on your high horse.

  5. Chris

    July 29, 2013 at 4:37 pm

    Being smelly in some places ? wow. So degrading. Who wants to smell backed up sh*t at a football match.

  6. Stacy Richardson

    July 29, 2013 at 1:25 pm

    “RFK Stadium was meant for American football, and has even supported baseball teams…”

    This statement is misleading. I think the author has missed the point. RFK (orignally known as “D.C. Stadium”) was designed for BOTH baseball (the American League Washington Senators, 1961-71) and American football. The dual-purpose design is the biggest reason the stadium is inferior: it’s one of many circular multipurpose stadia which were built in the 60s. None of those facilities were EVER suitable for either sport; almost all have been torn down.

    RFK could be repaired and remodeled, with new food service offerings implemented, but it would still be a terrible place to watch a game. ANY game. Let’s hope DC United gets a soccer-specific stadium, soon.

    • Harry Cee

      July 29, 2013 at 1:37 pm

      It’s basically saying the same thing. The point of the matter is that the stadium has supported those types of venues years ago but at this time it needs more than a renovation or remodeling, it’s time for a move to a new facility as the old one is practically a dinosaur.

  7. CTBlues

    July 29, 2013 at 1:20 pm

    I wonder if they will finally knock RFK down if this new stadium actually goes through.

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