17 March 2009

Stadium Rally

Dear United supporters,

Earlier this week, Kevin Payne asked for your support in e-mailing and calling state and county lawmakers with messages of support for our stadium proposal in Prince George's County. You responded with a deluge of e-mails that has dwarfed anything Annapolis has ever witnessed. It is truly moving the needle for us and we'll forever appreciate the passion, the creativity and the effort you all continue to display in support of our organization on the field and off.

We're again asking for your support next Tuesday in Annapolis. While we know that many of you have work obligations, we're asking our supporters, that are able, to join us at hearings before the House Appropriations Committee and Senate Budget and Taxation Committee. Our fans will gather at 12 noon at Annapolis City Dock, which is the harbor front park at the end of the boardwalk in downtown Annapolis. People should park at meters or the city garage on Duke of Gloucester Street. Typing Susan Campbell Park, Annapolis, MD into google maps will give you the exact location.

The hearing mentioned is the first and, perhaps, most important step as the state legislature considers the bills that will enable D.C. United to contract with the Maryland Stadium Authority to build a new stadium in Prince George's County. The hearings begin at 1:00 p.m. Our collective presence is hugely important.

Those wishing to travel en masse to Annapolis may gather at RFK Stadium. A caravan will leave Lot 5 at 11:00 a.m. In the meantime, please click here to continue to send e-mails. They do make a difference. We're also encouraging fans to write and call Governor O'Malley, Lt. Governor Brown, and the Secretary of State's office.

What: D.C. United Stadium Rally
When: 12 noon, Tuesday, March 17
Where: Annapolis City Dock, 1 Dock St., Annapolis, MD
Who: D.C. United stadium supporters

Thanks again for all that you do. D.C. United's great strength is the collection of players, staff and fans that make up our family. Together, we achieve great things.


Doug Hicks
Vice President, Communications

I've included this letter to DC United supporters (from dcunited.com) here in its entirety, for reference. The emphasis of bold and italics in the first paragraph is mine.

My legitimate question is this: What did these e-mails say? I need to understand this issue better and hence this post. I'm hoping The DCenters readers will sound off in the comments with what they think about the "stadium in PG Co." issue. For me, personally, a new stadium for its own sake is not as important as a stadium that makes sense. The "makes sense" part means different things for different people. For me, it is a stadium in DC; a stadium that bounces and prominently features the supporter's groups on the sideline.

So why would I go to a stadium rally in Annapolis? This makes no sense to me. If I were going to e-mail the organization about this, it would say something along the lines of "screw off". The rally has probably ended by now, so it will be interesting to hear from Goff or others about how many attended and what they had to say. It occurs to me that trying to organize football fans on St. Patrick's Day is a bad idea...

TIA for your comments.

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At 17 March, 2009 15:08, Blogger The AMT said...

After being jerked around by the Fenty Administration (which is showing no signs of being voted out anytime soon) and the Clark debacle at Poplar Point, the team has given up on a stadium in the city. The plan is for a stadium, funded by bonds repaid through rent by the team and by taxes generated at the stadium itself, in P.G. County, on the Blue Line. Payne has said he will ask designers/architects involved to create bouncing stands, and even to look into terraces in parts of the stadium.

I live in the District, but I wrote a letter to Annapolis in support of the stadium. A stadium that makes sense is certainly a necessity, but an ideal that can't ever be reached (which a stadium in the city resembles more and more) is simply no option at all compared to one in which the team can be profitable and is otherwise ideal (i.e. everything you want, just in P.G. County).

The rally today (which I couldn't attend due to meetings this morning) was about showing the Maryland Assembly that United will bring people to spend their money in P.G. County. The plan as presented by MacFarlane and Chang is not to dip into the General Fund at all, and not to raise taxes on any individuals or businesses, but rather to pay off the bonds issued for the stadium through tax revenue generated from tickets, concessions, parking, and whatever other streams the State and County might get ahold of at the stadium itself, once it's built.

Hope this helps...

At 17 March, 2009 15:38, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Are you taking over the site or will D be resurrected for the match reports?

At 17 March, 2009 16:59, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wrote in support because it's looking like it's a stadium in PG, or no stadium at all.

At 17 March, 2009 23:10, Blogger Stan said...

I don't mean to be rude, but at this point if people "don't get it" it's because they're TRYING NOT TO. And it irks me that people put up fictitious "right stadium" "options" as an "alternative." There's not a whit of evidence any such thing exists, it's just that people's comfort compels them not to deal with that reality.

At 18 March, 2009 08:57, Blogger Bob said...

to Mike and Stan:

My point is only that we already have a soccer specific stadium with bouncy stands that prominently showcases the supporters groups!

At 18 March, 2009 12:53, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bob, I'm a bit befuddled by your posts. They rehash a lot of things that I thought had been discussed so thoroughly amongst hardcore DCU supporters for the last few years that I thought they were dead discussion topics. It's actually genuinely depressing to see them come up again.

1. The team is not profitable in RFK, has never been profitable in RFK, and *will never be profitable* in RFK.

2. I know this sounds completely crazy, but believe it or not, the owners would like to stop losing money hand over fist on the team.

3. Furthermore, the DC Sports and Entertainment Commission has no long-term interest in supporting the continued existence of RFK, and no long-term funding to to maintain it.

4. Also, the District has a variety of plans for the land on which RFK sits. It's not clear what they'll want to do in the end, and obviously there are Federal obstacles to overcome. But there's one feature in common with all of these plans: RFK no longer exists.

5. So, as far as the team is concerned, as far as the DCSEC is concerned, and as far as the District government is concerned, RFK is not a long-term option for this team.

6. Therefore, the team cannot stay in RFK. The team has no choice but to move; and if they did have the choice, they wouldn't take it because they'd like to stop losing millions of dollars.

7. This brings us back to Stan's point. Anyone who continues to bring up RFK as an option at this point simply does not want to accept reality.


As for your statement that a stadium for its own sake is not as important as a stadium that makes sense . . .to me, a stadium that makes sense is one that stops the team from moving to St. Louis. Whether anyone wants to accept the reality of the situation, that's the situation. The owners and the League office can't possibly have made it any more clear that they're not willing to continue to lose money on this team, full stop. Either the team gets a stadium built in the next 4-5 years -- which means starting the process in the next 1-2 years -- or THERE IS NO MORE TEAM. Period. Bottom line. End of discussion.

So given that they can't stay in RFK, and have to get a stadium built, what would you suggest they do? At the personal direct request of D.C. Mayor Anthony Williams, the team spent a *tremendous* amount of money as well as a huge amount of time and effort interacting with Ward 8 residents, business, civic and governmental leaders to put forward a proposal both helped out the team and addressed local concerns. When Adrian Fenty took office, he completely pulled the rug out from under the team by nullifying all those efforts. They then tried two approaches, first negotiating directly with the Mayor's office as the (hoped-for) sole developer, then attaching themselves to Clark when the District decided to go the multi-bid proposal route. Neither bore any fruit, and even Clark now has pulled out of Poplar Point after being selected by the Mayor's office as the sole developer. We can't get anything built in the District.

So here we are. We have to move; we have to build a stadium somewhere, and soon; and we can't build in the District. Again, what would you have them do?

I'm a District resident; right now it's a 10-block walk to RFK. I'd much rather the team have stayed in the District. Hell, most DCU fans I know that live in Prince George's County would rather the team have stayed in the District. Everyone agrees that staying in the District would have been best. But it's not an option anymore, and continuing to cling to it and be mad at the team for trying to move to Prince George's County is like living in fantasyland. It's being mad at them for not doing something that they cannot possibly do. They're doing what they have to do to survive.

At 18 March, 2009 22:07, Blogger Stan said...

Yeah, the problem is that, REALLY, we don't have an SSS.

To use a car analogy, we have a hand-me-down 1984 Buick. We're sentimentally attached because it was our first car, we got laid in the back seat, and it did a great job of getting us from point A to B.

But it's got 200,000 miles on it, we put more into maintenance than it's worth, and some day the thing's gonna break down beyond all hope of repair.

We need to buy a damn car, we just don't wanna admit it.

At 21 March, 2009 16:47, Anonymous Anonymous said...

PG cannot afford to build a new stadium, especially when they can't afford to even fund their public school system. It's not asking a lot for dcu to suck it up and stay at rfk for now. If they managed their money better then they would be able to make a profit.

At 22 March, 2009 02:20, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ben Olsen is the shit tells us that "It's not asking a lot for dcu to suck it up and stay at rfk for now"

. . .and in the process, he/she proves that illiteracy remains a huge problem in the United States.

At 28 March, 2009 14:29, Anonymous Anonymous said...

DC United and fans continue to say they're "losing millions." Duh!The PG County/Maryland bond float is supposed to be paid by revenue from the team. If they're losing millions, PG & MD are on the hook for the bonds, if they can't pay. Stupid County Officials are closing schools, firing cops, and raising every tax they can get their hands on, and asking us to pay for a stadium. Would you do it, DC, VA and quit talking about PG like we're worse than *&^%. This is a great county, and we don't need you or your stadium!

At 30 March, 2009 12:24, Anonymous Anonymous said...

They're losing millions because of the set up with RFK. In their own stadium they have full control of revenue and can pay off their part of the bonds. Having a stadium where they control the revenue is the whole point. Do a little homework first before spouting off and NOT representing the good people of PG county.


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