Yesterday, talks between the District and DC United (The Post) for a soccer stadium and mixed use development at Poplar Point collapsed. The issue is who will pay for what — sound familiar?
DC United has indicated it may pursue relocation options as a result of the recent statelmate. The local suburbs and even Baltimore were cited as possible options. One that wasn’t mentioned was greater Philadelphia. Yesterday’s Inky had an article about possible plans to build a $100 million soccer stadium in Chester, an old industrial city near the Delaware state line. While it would seem unlikey that DC United would move completely out of the national captial area there (and become Delaware Valley United? Philly United?) is that possibility. If the Dodgers could move out of Brooklyn, any team can leave.
I don’t know how much leverage DC United has with the District. While their fanbase may be passionate and the franchise is the strongest in MLS, I can’t see District officials losing any sleep over the prospect of the franchise leaving. That’s too bad because DC United has brought four championships to the city since its inception in the mid-90s. That’s exactly four more than the Redskins, Nationals, Wizards, Capitals and Mystics combined. In fact no other DC team has even gotten past the second round during that time!
I am largely ambivalent about soccer, but my one visit to a match was fun and I would do it again. Even if I never go to another match, I hope DC United stays in the District. One of the things that makes living in-and-around a great city like Washington wonderful are the many cultural, entertainment, dining and sports options available. I may never eat at an Ethiopian restaurant or see the ballet, but I appreciate that they are here it means other people get to enjoy them. All of these choices makes for region and its people more intersting, no?
Hopefully this is all just historonics and the District and DC United can come totgether and build what sounds like a pretty good idea. I’d hate to lose a team, especially the winning one!