17 July 2007

The DCenters Interview with the Washington Times, Director's Cut

Below is a copy of an interview between myself and The Washington Times' Tim Lemke on the DC United stadium deal, some of which was quoted in the article we linked to earlier today. For various absurd legal reasons, I will be summarizing Tim's questions but printing my answers in full. Yes, I know, that's silly, but that's the nature of Corporate America these days.

Tim notes that DC United asked fans to write to Mayor Fenty and the DC Council to express frustration with the lack of movement on the stadium issue. He asks if I wrote in, and do I share that frustration?

United has since asked that people send their correspondence to them directly, so as not to overwhelm the Mayor's office, which I have done. If there's frustration, it is from the sense that United and its fans have been paying their dues for years now. Every year Mayor Williams, and this year Mayor Fenty, would come out an opening day and talk about helping us get a home of our own, and a season would pass and we'd still be no closer. That's frusturating year after year, especially when you structures going up near Potomac Avenue.

Tim asks what we think of the plan. He also asks if we want the city ti decide to move forward with the team's plan, or do we understand the city's desire to finalize a plan of their own?

I love the plan DC United has presented, and not just from a soccer fan perspective. Asking for rational thinking in sports is probably as difficult as asking for rational thinking in politics, but what I love about the plan United has put out is that it shows a different way of integrating professional sports into civic life. This isn't a case of a sports monopoly trying to extort public monies from the city. The United plan shows they're willing to pay for the land and stadium development, and it is a good-faith effort to provide the city return on its investment, to provide Ward 8 residents with housing, jobs, and expanded civic opportunities, and to provide the fans of United a home we can take pride in.

The city certainly needs to look at other proposals. I understand that. The AWC plan is another proposal the city should examine, but having looked at it myself it doesn't offer the same opportunity to the city and especially the residents of Ward 8 that the United plan does.

Tim asks how impatient we are to see a new stadium.

We've waited 12 years for our own stadium, and during that time DC United has been a strong participant in the DC community. This team, its fans, and I think the city as a whole deserve to give DC United a home that matches its performance competitively and the work it has done within the DC Community.

Tim asks how important a new soccer specific stadium is.

In terms of long-term viability, it's essential. The overhead costs of a nearly 60,000 seat stadium are huge, and the revenue from amenities and parking, which don't go to the team really, could show that soccer is a profitable industry in the United States. United's willing to make a fair deal to the city for these things. United needs a home, not merely a shelter.

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At 17 July, 2007 15:12, Anonymous Bill Urban said...


The Director's Cut doesn't come as a podcast?

At 17 July, 2007 21:36, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great comments again!


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