11 October 2007

Poplar Pointless?

Yesterday, United released a letter to Mayor Fenty stating that they've begun talking with other jurisdictions for alternative stadium sites. They maintain they still prefer Poplar Point, but it seems the District's foot dragging, and opening up the land for competitive development has forced the team to consider all options as well.

“However, given the uncertainty around the [request for expressions of interest], the unhurried pace of the negotiations with the federal government on the land transfer, and the fact that our current situation is not financially feasible, we have begun discussions with surrounding jurisdictions about alternative stadium sites,” MacFarlane and Payne wrote.

The Sports Curmudgeon, not coincidentally I imagine, wonders why its so hard for United to get a stadium given its success relative to other local teams. He offers a very succinct explanation.
Meanwhile, there is a team in DC that averages over 20,000 fans per game and who plays in the same fetid sewer of a stadium that the Nationals play in and who wants to build its own stadium in the city and is willing to pay the lion's share of the construction costs. That would be DC United in MLS in case you don't know who plays where in the DC area. And somehow those same politicians who found a way to spend $600-700M of the public's money on a stadium for the Nats cannot find a way to dedicate the parcel of land that would accommodate this soccer-only facility for DC United.
For many, many fans, the team leaving the District for the suburbs would be disastrous. Given the rent, and minimal, if any, revenue from tickets and concession, staying at RFK is not a viable long term option. If a local stadium can't get done, the team's owners would have to seriously consider moving to another city altogether. Personally, I'd like them to stay nearby than leave altogether.

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At 11 October, 2007 12:12, Blogger The Bird said...

If DCU moved to another city, the only word to describe how I would feel is heartbroken. Even a non-Metro accessible location outside the city would seriously limit the number of games I'd be able to go to. I'm guessing a lot of other fans are in the same boat. What a clusterfuck.

At 11 October, 2007 12:17, Anonymous Bill Urban said...


Interesting that a Miami paper chose to write about the stadium situation. I'm wondering if the intentt is to insinuate that United might move to Miami?

Then again, it's sort of hard to take the article seriously with the accompanying Donnet photo...

At 11 October, 2007 12:29, Blogger Oscar M. said...

TB: If they moved it'd definitely be an adjustment. I'm sure the Front Office is aware of the importance to their fanbase of having Metro nearby, and being centrally located. Part of this is a negotiating tactic, which they used before. Remember when they threw out the stadium at the naval Academy in annapolis as a possible game site?

Bill: No idea why a miami paper picked this up, but I wouldn't put a lot of stock in it.

At 11 October, 2007 12:55, Anonymous bdr said...

Don't forget the $50M DC just gave to Pollin to upgrade Verizon Center. That'll give DC politicians looking to demagogue on no more city giveaways to sports teams that much more oomph.

But more to the point in that article: DCU has re-signed Donnet?

At 11 October, 2007 13:12, Blogger Brian said...

DC United should just find some track of land in Northern Virginia off of the Orange line and set up their own stadium.

Watching the DC City Council fumble this only because they were railroaded by MLB for the Nats stadium is giving me ulcers.

At 11 October, 2007 14:58, Anonymous Mickey said...

Don't count on land in Northern Virginia to be readily available - DCU would be hard fought to assemble enough land to accomodate such a project and at a price that doesn't approach the ridiculous. The only Metro-accesible jurisdiction with land and pricing that accomodates such an ambitious development would be Prince George's County - which would be quite a drawback for Virginia fans.

At 11 October, 2007 21:13, Blogger WFY said...

Philly (well, Chester actually) is looking to build a soceer pitch...

At 12 October, 2007 10:37, Anonymous Anonymous said...

...Prince George's County - which would be quite a drawback for Virginia fans.

I commute from Hyattsville to Alexandria every day. It's really not such a big deal to cross that river, as long as you learn to avoid the beltway. (45 min during rush hour.)

I don't actually imagine DCU will end up in building in PG County, but there are worse places they could go. (Like Philly!)

- rke

At 16 October, 2007 09:12, Anonymous Clemenza said...

How come whenever someone brings up the Stadium argument they always throw out attendance per game numbers? Yeah we draw about 20,000 per game but we’re only talking about 15-20 games per year… We’re the best team in our league and we offer the best live atmosphere in town, but we only bring in roughly 400,000 per year… Officially, the Nationals only brought in 24,000 per game but they did it 81 times bringing their total to 1,900,000… and that’s with a crappy product.

You can argue that MLB/Nats ownership fudge a bit on those attendance numbers, but guess what? We probably do as well.

I’m not saying we don’t deserve a Stadium, because we do… And the fact that we’re willing to pick up most of the tab should make it a no-brainer for the city to give us a site somewhere… But I wince every time I see one of my fellow DCU fans throw out attendance per game numbers vs. the Nats and fail to mention that they play 4 times as many games as we do.

Frankly, I don’t think we need to try and justify our case with stats that only tell half the story… We’ve got a GREAT product and every year more and more local sports fans figure that out. And with the attention that a new SSS could bring I’m sure our numbers will get a decent boost… but pointing to attendance per/game is a joke.


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