Highlights from the D.C. United stadium press conference

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Monday was a memorable day for D.C. United fans as officials in Maryland held a press conference to discuss the proposed D.C. United stadium in Prince George's County in Maryland. After years of failed attempts to secure a stadium deal in the District of Columbia, D.C. United stands poised to finally have a soccer stadium for the most successful club in MLS history.

Behind the Badge, the D.C. United team blog, gives us this behind the scenes look at the historic day:

If you are a die-hard D.C. fan, and want to watch the entire press conference, you can watch it here.

What do you think of this development? Are you an excited D.C. fan? Are you an annoyed Northern Virginia resident dreading the longer commute? Are you a D.C. resident who wants to pull a Zidane-Materazzi on your mayor?

Share your thoughts below.

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39 Responses to Highlights from the D.C. United stadium press conference

  1. Rafael says:

    I’ll be really excited when they break ground. A stadium for this team is way over due!

  2. Mig says:

    This is pretty terrible. I lived in the DC area for 18 years and can say with some authority that in terms of attendance, the single worst place for a stadium is in PG County. For one, the bulk of the Hispanic/Latino community is in N. Virginia and this move takes the game further away from those fans. Additionally, the money and growth in the area is skewed to the Virginia side of the area and making that segment travel to Maryland surely won’t help attendance.

    But hey, it’s politics and money and they need the new stadium so I guess they take what they get.

    Regards,

  3. brett says:

    mig- P.G. executive stated that the site is only going to be 12 min away from their current stadium. How is that really moving further away from the fans??

    unless i missed something there… correct me if im wrong as i know NOTHING about that area….

  4. cbr says:

    Mig,

    12,000 fans in a stadium where u control 100% of the revenue is better than 25,000 fans in a stadium where you control a fraction of the revenue.

    congrats on the stadium folks

  5. Mig says:

    @brett: yeah, it’s not that far but the area has a definite mindset of Virginia and Maryland being a long way apart from each other. Additionally, for most residents of VA, the trip to RFK was an f’n nuisance that as a season ticket really detracted from the convenience. And the ’12 minutes’ is not taking into account traffic….it’s more like 20-30 minutes at that time of day.

    @cbr: yeah, you’re right. They NEED a stadium and my remarks only treat the location. I just think it’s terrible that DC couldn’t figure it out.

    Cheers.

  6. DCUnotPGU says:

    As others have pointed out, this is financed through revenue bonds. The revenue will go to the creditors first. So RFK, Creditor stadium, same difference. This deal is a bad one for the fans and the franchise. But then again, most stadium deals are pretty poor so I think people shouldn’t expect much better.

  7. kahlva says:

    OK, that’s the funniest line and think most telling of all the anti-PG comments.

    “Yeah, it’s not that far…”

    So. It’s not that far from the current location. But there’s STILL a problem with having it there for some reason? Yeesh.

    Awesome news for DC. Congrats!!

  8. DWE4 says:

    Current location is fairly central, both in terms of geography and in terms of traffic flow and public transportation. Any PG County location will move out from the geographic center, but will also create a traffic problem for the Virginia and DC residents that requires either traveling around the perimeter (i.e. I-495) or going into the middle and back out again (for the folks in Virginia).

    The biggest complaint about FedEx Field (which is also in PG County) is that it’s a pain in the a$$ to get in/out of. The Redskins still draw a huge crowd, but the NFL is an entirely different beast.

  9. beckster says:

    - Yes, am an annoyed VA resident – especially after DC United said that although NOVA is the largest portion of the fan base, it might have to change

    - Do you think we could hire Zidane? Really like that idea

    - It is great that there will be a new stadium but how will they be able to ensure that it “rocks”!

  10. hendrix says:

    i bet DC fans just wish they could be this close to the city:

    link to commons.wikimedia.org

    of course DC has no beautiful tall buildings to look at, so I guess it doesn’t really matter in the end.

  11. Reid says:

    As an MLS (revs) fan living in CT i would kill for that little amount of time to go to a match.

    I will still make the 6hr drive or train ride to attend 1-2 DCU games a year seeing that all my friends and family are dc fans

  12. RBNY fan says:

    Congrats to DC from a RBNY fan. Both of us having our own stadium will help take our rivalry to the next level.

  13. Matt says:

    I bet Toronto’s players wish they had a grass field.

    Wish United could’ve gotten a deal done to stay ‘in’ DC. If they build a great stadium and return to their successful ways of the past, I think it will all work out alright.

  14. Aljarov says:

    Shame they couldn’t work something out in the end for DC.

    Still, good news overall, so long as it isn’t another Frisco int he making.

  15. megs says:

    Here’s the problem, even though it’s “not that far.” There are plenty of people who come to games straight from work, especially work in Northern VA. At RFK or a DC city site, they can reliably make it to the game within five or so minutes of kickoff, which still makes the game worth watching. Going to a stadium site in Maryland adds another 20-25 minutes (it’s 15 minutes further on one Metro line, but that’s not the line that runs in from the Reston corridor part of VA where a lot of people work, so there’s a line change involved there as well) from the Metro, or more by car. That puts them at the game half an hour or more after kickoff, which, frankly, much as I love the team and the sport, makes it not really worth it to me.

    The other problem is that, despite a large percentage of the current fan base taking Metro to games, and several studies showing that people who now take Metro to games wouldn’t come if they couldn’t take Metro, two of the seven sites the ownership is looking at STILL aren’t near Metro stops.

    My father, who attends game from Northern VA fairly regularly (half season ticket), also doesn’t like how much later it gets him home from evening games, and has already informed the team that once they’re out in PG County, his season ticket account goes dormant. It’s just more than he’s willing to put up with.

  16. Jordan says:

    nobody cares about Toronto. Shut up hendrix

  17. hokieunited says:

    The argument in time has to do with the different modes of transportation taken by fans from Northern Virginia.

    If you are taking the Metro, it will be only be those extra 12 minutes to get to the proposed stadium, assuming the stop it is close to is on the Blue Line.

    Those who are upset at the move as those who will be driving to the games. RFK right now is at an easily accessible location. For people from NOVA, its a simple drive up 395, until it ends. And bam, you are at the stadium.

    With the new stadium, the quickest way will most likely be going around on 495, which means crossing the Wilson Bridge, which I wish upon no one during the high traffic hours — which means those fans traveling for a 7 pm kickoff, which have to leave a considerable amount earlier.

    Personally, I am a Blue – Liner…. I will have to only figure in that extra 10-15 minutes to make it to the stadium.

    But from living in the area, I feel for those who usually drive into the games.

  18. Dominique says:

    Maryland, my Marylend!

  19. Mig says:

    Well said, Hokie and megs.

    @kahlva: you take a fragment of my first sentence and respond to it out of context. I, and others, have stated why we think the PG county location is a bad choice. I think EVERYBODY is happy that DC is getting a real stadium.

  20. James says:

    I wish the stadium was staying in DC since I walk to the games right now, but the deal looks good and while I feel for NOVA fans (especially on weeknights) I think the closer proximity to U of Md and to Baltimore, which have strong soccer communities, will help grow the base in other areas.

  21. rednow.red4ever says:

    I’m sorry, but if this ends up near ANY Metro stop (5 of the 7 plans do), no one can really complain. I often go to Fire games by taking two trains and a bus (since TP is a few miles from the last Orange line stop at Midway) and don’t really have a problem with it because the stadium is simply worth it to me….

  22. The AMT says:

    5 of the 7 sites they are looking at are Metro accessible – on the same lines that RFK currently sits on. I’ll put money on the new VW Arena being *very* close to the Morgan Blvd, Largo Town Center stops on the Blue Line or New Carrollton on the Orange. MacFarlane is a land developer first (upwards of $1B in the District alone) – he and Chang understand the value added by proximity to the Metro. VA residents don’t have to drive to get out to PG County – it’s only a few more stops past RFK on the Metro, where there’s no traffic congestion. The tailgaters will still drive, but for the people who currently sit on the quiet side of RFK, WMATA has them covered.

  23. northzax says:

    for everyone talking about coming straight from work. Please do take a gander at the MLS schedule for 2009: there is exactly ONE weekday game at RFK (the RedBulls on June 4, and no fan will miss that one.) MLS is moving away from midweek matches. now will there be cup games? sure. CCL games? we hope. but those are never really that well attended anyway and you are really talking about 3-5 games a year, you can make that work if you want to. as long as they commit to a Metro site, it’s all good.

  24. jim b says:

    Spare me the longer rush hour drive nonsense. Only 4 out of 30 games are on weekdays next year. Boo frickin Hoo… United is getting a $185 MILLION stadium of our own. Stop bitchin and start celebrating. jeezh

  25. Piney O says:

    the Mayor of DC was not going to spend a public penny on a stadium for soccer…..after the baseball stadium mess no way United was getting a stadium built in the district.

    It will be really just a few miles from RFK if they go with one of the metro Blue Line options and the stretch of beltway from NOVA to PG County isn’t as bad traffic wise as the rest of the beltway. If you are a United fan you know this was the best and only option for a new stadium…if you are NOVA resident crying about the extra 15 minutes you may spend each way your aren’t a die hard fan anyway…La Norte, Screaming Eagles and Barra Brava will be there in full swing…… NOVA people just cry about venues because none are being built in NOVA, there isn’t enough room to add another fire hydrant in NOVA let alone a stadium so NOVA sports fans cry about having to travel to all the sportig events that matter in this area

  26. Chef Raw Head says:

    Good for DC, it is ridiculous for the most successful team in MLS to have to play in the barren wastelands of RFK.

    While I would have liked to see United stay in DC (I’m from Bmore), the organization is in a desperate situation.

    Given that MacFarlane is a developer, and his purchase of United was probably based on the potential of a stadium deal (and the surrounding property to develop), I am happy that this is moving forward.

    MacFarlane is real estate first. If they were not able to secure a stadium anywhere in the DMV I have no doubt he would up and move them somewhere else.

    Keep United in the DMV! Thank God that we are discussing the difficulties of traveling to PG as opposed to whether to support Portland United!

  27. Dave says:

    To Megs, Mig, PG site haters etc.,

    I disagree with pretty much all of your comments (besides the ones where you acknowledge that it’s great that we are actually getting a stadium). Each year, MLS is moving more and more games to weekends. Almost all of our games will be on Saturday or Sunday. Traffic is not that bad on weekend afternoons and evenings in the district and MD (and not even that bad in NOVA during that time period either). This is not going to be that tough trek for you guys. Seriously, maybe 20 minutes tops from Alexandria? In the general area there is easy access from the beltway, Rt. 50, and the BW parkway (which has access from 295).

    Also, if this stadium is put near the sites with Metro access the metro stations mentioned are no more than 3 stops past RFK’s stop (maybe 10 min by train?).

    I really cannot believe how much people from NOVA are complaining about this move. We are in the DC area still, literally 5-10 min from the district line. This move is awesome. New stadium for United. In a pretty nice are of Prince George’s (much nicer than the line between NE and SE that RFK sits on). I’m excited. The distance makes no real difference for me either. I am not in a supporter’s group, but I have season tickets (commuting from Baltimore or Southern MD either way). So no matter what I’m looking at an hour drive. Deal with the extra 10-15 min NOVA.

  28. Bootsy says:

    At this point, as of early last week, the chances of building in D.C. had dropped to zero. There was absolutely no way the stadium was going to be in D.C. That sucks. Everyone agrees it sucks. But it’s reality. With that reality, the only options remaining were Prince Georges County, or St. Louis/Vancouver/whatever. Those frustrated with the length of the drive to Prince Georges County should consider how long the drive to St. Louis would be.

    There are various aspects of this deal which are not that good. But that’s irrelevant. The question is whether this is the best deal they could get. They weren’t going to get anything out of D.C. — period, bottom line, end of discussion.

    As someone who lives within walking distance of RFK, it’ll be a real bummer to have to drive out to Largo for games. But nowhere near as much of a bummer as if I didn’t have games to go to.

  29. Bob says:

    I have to chime in as a DCU fan who is also a fan of RFK. I will have a moment of silence every time I am on the train to a match and I pass through Stadium-Armory station, pass under the stadium and then emerge above ground with RFK (or the former site of RFK) behind me.

  30. Cam says:

    Northern Virginia would have been my first choice if nothing was available in D.C. but beggers can’t be choosers. I’m really happy that this is finally happening.

    Hendrix, I’ve been to BMO field and it is in a great location (I’d say only Columbus has a better location). But as for the stadium itself, it looks like an oversized high school football stadium. I wouldn’t brag that much if I were you.

  31. newyorker says:

    All I can say is that I hope that DCU gets a stadium near a metro station not to far from DC. The fact that DC wasn’t willing to build this stadium is undisputable. The city turned down every proposal made by DCU to chip in for the cost of redeveloping and underdeveloped area of the city. I’m not familiar with the DC area but from what I’ve read it would have been difficult to build a stadium in NOVA because PG pursued the idea of building a stadium for DCU more aggressively than NOVA and that NOVA is much more physically developed than PG county.

  32. hendrix says:

    Hey Cam, TFC has had its own SSS for a number of years now so I wouldn’t talk if I were you ;) BMO is a budget stadium, but nobody comes to sit in the private boxes or eat prawn sandwiches. BMO is an amazing place to watch a game (every seat has a great view) and it’s in a perfect location.

    Location comes first. This is most important. Even if you build a junker, at least its in a great location and it can be upgraded later, like what has happened at every British stadium in the past 30 years.

  33. JP says:

    I don’t know where the “12 minutes away from RFK” thing came from. As of the Washington Post article this morning, the actual site is a long way from being determined. The article mentioned that they’re looking at many sites, some along a Metro line and some not.

    Distance matters. Location matters. The Caps lost a lot of their fans when they moved from Landover to Chinatown. Only now, with the most exciting young team in hockey, are they close to being back where they were in the 90′s.

    PG is not soccer country and it’s not where anyone wants to go for a game of anything, the Redskins notwithstanding.

    A move out of DC has been in the cards for a while, but it still stinks.

  34. Excited says:

    Building a stadium in NOVA would have been awful. They threw around the idea of a site out on the way to Dulles. Talk about out of the way. At least most of the PG sites are really close to RFK via Metro. I think that DC United, Maryland, and PG County will quickly rule out the sites that aren’t near Metro. And almost $200 million? This stadium is going to be state of the art (for a 24,000 seat stadium).

    I bet there will be great space for tailgating too. DC United knows that there is a major tailgating tradition at RFK, and they should try to make good space at the new stadium.

  35. Cam says:

    Hendrix, I’m not from D.C., I just visit there a lot. I was simply stating a fact about BMO Field. If you want to get technical, use to live in Columbus which had the first SSS and has THE best location of any stadium in the league. I stand by my previous statement.

  36. megs says:

    I don’t buy the argument that coming from work isn’t relevant because all of the games are going to be on weekends. I think that MLS is going to realize more and more in the coming years that they need to accommodate the international schedule, which is going to necessitate moving games back to weekdays. I also think that there’s a fair amount of the DC fanbase (and I was one of these for a year and a half) who don’t have 9-5 Mon-Fri jobs; a lot of people work Saturdays.

    Ultimately, I’ll still go to the same number of games that I do now as long as there’s Metro access; since my commute to RFK currently involves a car, two planes, and then a Metro ride, a little extra won’t make that big a difference. But I know people who still live in the area who won’t now be able to go to the same number of games that they do now, and that’s the part that I think is a shame. That and the fact that the quote circulating from Kevin Payne acknowledges that they’ll lose some NoVa fans, but they’ll just replace them with MD fans – that’s a cavalier treatment of loyal fans that I have not come to expect from DCU, and it saddens me.

  37. Erek says:

    Im just glad that we finally will have a stadium built for soccer. A new stadium where the lights dont go out in the middle of games, and if you are sitting in the back row of the lower level you can see the ball when it goes higher than 10 feet in the air. So excited, I cant wait to go to the first game there.

  38. Robby says:

    a PG County stadium is the worst thing to happen to DC United. Suburban lameness, what????

    Suburban stadiums are retarded. I, for one, will not go to any more games.

    The greatest appeal in attending an actual game was taking the metro. They want to build solid fan bases for teams around the league? Put f’ing stadiums in areas with large populations….i.e, CITIES. Just look at the team who have the best fans….Toronto. The stadium is in the city. Damn, are we lamer than Canucks now??? YUP.

    They will say its close to a metro stop in PG County, but I don’t believe it. They’re taking this team and making it into some bs, family-minivan-soccer kiddies backed organization that never will win a title….. just a short car ride away, you say? Shove it. I’ll go to my neighborhood bar and MAYBE watch (I hate Soehn, too, so this move is just insult to injury)

    Get rid of Soehn, suck it up and play at RFK, and be good to your fans. Mark my words: DC United fans will go lame and the game attendees will resemble the crowd at a tennis match; occasional clapping, rare noise. SO LAME. I hate you DC UNITED for doing this to me. Take your suburban bullshit and shove it.

  39. DC United fan says:

    This was a sad but necessary move for United. As a local the main problem is that P.G. County (I’ve heard the derogatory term “Prince Ghetto” county bandied about over the years) has a stubborn reputation as the worst suburban jurisdiction in the D.C. area in terms of crime, economic development, bad schools, corrupt local government, etc. It’s a shame because there are many pockets of real wealth there and many residents will proudly tell you it’s the “richest majority black county in the United States” and repeatedly question why there isn’t more high-end retail, restaurants, etc. However, many Northern Virginia residents, myself included, feel even less comfortable in P.G. County than a poorer area of D.C. because at least the poorer areas of D.C. like the Poplar Point site are still close to downtown and in a better position to be primed for long-term economic development. In fact, many of the poorer residents who have been displaced in the District by the gentrification boom of the last 15-20 years in D.C. have landed in P.G. County. The Boulevard at Cap Centre, an attempted high-end shopping centre at the site of the old Capital Centre, has struggled to attract and keep tenants since it opened and the surrounding office parks remain mostly vacant. I’m just not sure a SSS will help all these factors and in fact will just drag down D.C. United’s efforts to make money in the long run.