Tag Archives: DC United

New DC United stadium approved for Buzzard Point


It took over a decade to happen, but D.C. United will have a new home after the D.C. Council and passed funding legislation for a stadium at Buzzards Point – D.C. Council gives final approval to soccer stadium deal (The Post):

With the vote, the team secured a deal that could get it out of the aging RFK Stadium as soon as 2017. And Mayor Vincent C. Gray, with about two weeks left in office, secured a legacy.

The final vote was matter-of-fact, with the council’s 12 members approving the deal unanimously.

A companion funding bill also passed unanimously Wednesday authorizing nearly $140 million for the project — including $33 million in shifts from other projects and $106 million in new borrowing.

DC United tried to get a stadium built on the other side of the Anacostia River at Poplar Point but, that got scuttled by then mayor Adrian Fenty. Moving the team to Prince George’s County was also proposed, but that did not proceed very far. Building Nationals Park clearly delayed the soccer stadium, but in 2017 DCU and the Nats will be neighbors, separated by a mere 4 blocks. Navy Yard Metro will be the closest station to the soccer stadium as well.

I’m really happy for the fans of United; Dan Steinberg Post columnist (weird) and DC Sports Bog-er has said for years that they are his favorite fans. It’s hard to argue with him, they have a passion for the black and red.

TIME TO COMMIT

On a personal note, I have become increasingly interested in soccer in the last five years, but have been holding back on completely embracing United because I wanted to know they weren’t going to leave the area for some place like Baltimore or Philly. In particular, I did not want my six-year old son, who has developed an interest and aptitude for soccer, to get his heart broken. Now that we know the team is here for the duration, we’ll probably start attending games regularly. I think I might have to go to the store and get him a shirt for Christmas.

WHAT’S THE BUZZ?

Like many of the teams in our nation’s capital, United has an eagle for a mascot. One of the supporters groups is called the Screaming Eagles too. While tradition is important, this outsider thinks that becoming the Screaming Buzzards on account of their new location might be something to explore.

DCU is also considering rebranding a bit with the move:

I have a feeling not much will change.

OTHER USES

There is talk of the stadium being used for other events, like high school football and concerts. The Washington Spirits of the National Women’s Soccer League would probably play there occasionally. I wonder if the vagabond Chesapeake Bayhawks Major League Lacrosse team that has played all in DC, Baltimore, George Mason University and currently the Naval Academy might be looking to move as well.

THE OBSOLESCENCE OF RFK & MAYBE SOME METRO STATION NAMES

DC United is the sole remaining tenant at Robert F. Kennedy Stadium . The will likely play there a total 21 seasons, second only to the Redskins for longevity. Overall 13 baseball seasons were spent at RFK between the Senators and Nationals in the 1960s, 1970s and 2000s. With RFK’s inevitable demise (which deserves it’s own blog post) what becomes of the Stadium-Armory Metro station name? My guess is they’ll rename it to Hill East or something and remove the Armory reference entirely. Of course the city is tilting at windmills for the 2024 Olympics and/or a new Redskins stadium, so who knows? I wonder if the Navy Yard-Ballpark station gets another new name too, since two stadia will be served.

VENDORS

DC United and DC Brau already have a beer, The Tradition, so I can only assume local craft beer will be a part of the new stadium. Ben’s Chili Bowl is in several locations, so they may show up too. Since MLS doesn’t have all the national sponsorships that other leagues do, focusing on local/regional vendors and products is an appealing part of the DCU experience.

BALTIMORE IN MLS?

To the north, efforts to entice DCU to head up there were at least considered. I’m glad that hasn’t happened, but I’d be on board with a Baltimore MLS team. They have a lower-division team called the Bohemians after the infamous National Bohemian beer and since soccer is usually sponsored, that’d be one of the better one. That’d be a good instant rivalry, along with the ones with Red Bull NY (actually Harrison, NJ) and Philly Union.

MORE COVERAGE

D.C. United stadium approval improves its playing field in MLS in many ways. – The Post

City council unanimously passes legislation to build stadium for D.C. UnitedThe Wash. Times

Letter from D.C. United Managing General Partner Jason LevienD.C. United

Major League Soccer Commissioner Don Garber talks D.C. United StadiumD.C. United

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A new DC United home may be near (and not a moment too soon)

Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but there may be a new stadium for D.C. United in our time:

Sources: D.C. United and District government finalizing stadium dealThe Post

And not a moment too soon:

Well done X-Men moviemakers, I guess. You just destroyed the most all-time beloved venue of sport in the nation’s capital. There’s no way RFK Stadium would have held up that well in real life too.

In all seriousness, I hope DCU finally gets a new home; I’m withholding any significant emotional investment until I know they’ll be here for the duration. I suppose the Baltimore/Washington/Chesapeake Bayhawks might be interested in that venue as well.

H/Ts

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Name the new DC Brau/D.C. United beer contest underway

More good local beer news — DC Brau and DC United are teaming up for a new beer. Here’s the DCU release – D.C. United and DC Brau collaborate to create DC’s only team-specific beer:

D.C. United, in collaboration with DC Brau Brewing Company, LLC, today announced that DC Brau will brew a limited edition D.C. United specific beer – the only one of its kind in the DC sports world. While the beer is currently without a name, the two have partnered to launch a contest giving D.C. United fans the opportunity to name the new brew. Fans can submit their suggestions online.

Here are the prizes:

  • Two (2) field-side seats and field level gameday experience (includes food in the D.C. United Hospitality tent and parking)
  • Your submission will be the official name of the beer
  • D.C. United/DC Brau prize pack

That’s a pretty sweet prize pack, even for a casual soccer fan like myself. I have some United on the tube this season which isn’t going well at all. Perhaps this can be a rally beer that gets them playing respectable soccer again. I hope so, Dan Steinberg of DC Sports Bog, The Post has pointed out over the years that his favorite fan base is DC United. Oh and of course, there is a worthwhile Bog post on the subject: DC United getting a team beer from DC Brau.

I’d love it if other area pro teams could do this, but I suspect national beer contracts with their respective leagues and official team beer sponsors will keep it from happening. Those deals bring in a lot of money for the big 4 teams and are also the same reason why getting local beer into the venues occurs slowly — the macro brewers are losing market share to the craft brewers, so they are just going to go harder on sports sponsorships and pouring rights.

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Redskins will be #1 team in D.C. for a long time; Nats & Caps currently jockeying for #2

DC team pennants
Mike Rizzo: D.C. could become ‘primarily a baseball town’ – DC Sports Bog, The Post
I think that every professional sports team ought to be “aspirational” in everything they do. An example is trying to be the #1 team in a market. Washington Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo seems to think so too:

“I think that Washington D.C. could become primarily a baseball town, with the Redskins always being right there in the picture also,” he continued.

That’s the right thing to say, but I doubt he believes it. The Redskins 75 years in D.C. and the overall popularity of the NFL are too much to overcome. The Nats, Capitals, Wizards and DC United are all fighting to be the second most popular team in the area. My guess is the current overall ranking looks like this:

1. Redskins
2. Capitals
3. Nationals
4. Wizards
5. DC United

I think the slumping Caps are just hanging onto the #2 spot and will probably be surpassed by the Nats this spring if they haven’t been already. The Nats are certainly in the best position to win D.C.’s next major championship, a spot the Caps occupied for about 5 years.

My personal rankings look like this:

1. Nationals
2. Redskins
3. Capitals
4. DC United
5. Wizards

With me, everybody is fighting to be #2 too — the Nats are my favorite D.C. team even during extended periods of awful seasons. Prior to last fall, I’d have put the Caps at #2, but a few things changed:

As I mentioned recently, I am holding back until I know DC United are staying in the area. I also like hockey more than soccer. DCU has a great hardcore fanbase, it just isn’t very large.

The Wizards are underachievers both on the court and in the hearts and minds of D.C. fans. There are plenty of basketball fans in the area, but the franchise has been so lackluster for so long that they haven’t been able to sustain a significant fanbase. Plus, during the Susan O’Malley era, she marketed the visiting teams and not the Bullets/Wizards.

So, try to be #1 Nats, but don’t me mad when you never get past being #2. This is big market and there is room for everybody.

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Is a DC United stadium finally going to happen?

I think we are in Round 62 in the ongoing saga that is a new D.C. United stadium — the team’s managing partner Jason Levien is hopeful, according to Soccer Insider (The Post):

“The stars are aligning in a good way for us. We’re working closely with the right people and we feel better about it today than we did three months ago, no question.”

Levien declined to go into detail about negotiations or provide a timetable for a possible agreement. “We want to honor the process and confidentiality of the proceedings,” he said. “We feel we have positive momentum and we don’t want to do anything to deter it.”

I will believe that DCU has a new stadium when I’m sitting in it. The current speculation has them winding up in Buzzard’s Point, about 6 blocks from Nationals Park.

I am at the point of “I’ve enjoyed watching World Cup and Olympic soccer, I think I’m ready to get into D.C. United, but I’m wary of doing so in case they leave.” Nonetheless, I am going to try to get out to RFK Stadium to see them this year. 2013 Regular Season Schedule

As for RFK, Levien has a good attitude:

What we are not going to do is denigrate RFK in any way because there have been some amazing moments in people’s lives there. It’s hallowed ground, and while we are there, we want to respect it and enjoy it because at some point we are going to look back and not be there, and it’s going to remain a hallowed ground.”

Oh and they said Baltimore is out of the picture which sounds nice, since that was a concern. I am actually in favor MLS putting a team in Baltimore, so long as it isn’t United.

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Positive steps for DC United staying in the District

Study: $157M for soccer stadium
The long road to a soccer specific stadium for D.C. United is looking a little better. I hope something can be worked out and they stay here; I’ll believe when I’m sitting in it. I need to figure out when I’m going to see them this season. I have not seen them in years and my last trip to RFK was almost five years ago. Weird.

Soccer isn’t my favorite sport, but who knows, maybe my son will love it. I’d like to have the option when he’s old enough to care.

Baltimore is very eager to get MLS and that’d be great (especially if it is the Baltimore Bohemians – best corporate team sponsor ever), so long as we’re not talking about DCU moving there.

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Almost a clean sweep for D.C.: Caps, Nats, DC United all win (Wizards don’t)

Yesterday, three D.C. teams played concurrently and all won — two over Boston area teams. The Washington Capitals beat the Boston Bruins 2-1 in the second overtime in the game 2 of the NHL playoffs to take home ice advantage.

Just minutes earlier, the Washington Nationals beat the Cincinnati Reds 4-1 behind Edwin Jackson’s complete game (The Post) in his home debut. Why won’t MLB let me embed video until the day after?

This followed a 13 inning win on Friday night:

DC United beat the New England Revolution at Foxoboro, 2-1 (The Post).


The Wizards lost though. Of course.

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MLS on Facebook: DC United 10th most liked team

DC United, the most successful Major League Soccer franchise as measured by championships comes in 10th place in Facebook Likes, just about the middle if the league. #1 is the Los Angeles Galaxy, which has international superstar, David Beckham on it. Data collected March 26, 2012



Team Conference Facebook Likes
1 Los Angeles Galaxy Western 359471
2 Seattle Sounders FC Western 247414
3 New York Red Bulls Eastern 151121
4 Philadelphia Union Eastern 92899
5 Chicago Fire  Eastern 90938
6 Real Salt Lake Western 85904
7 Portland Timbers Western 82735
8 New England Revolution Eastern 65105
9 Toronto FC Eastern 62280
10 D.C. United Eastern 60361
11 Sporting Kansas City Eastern 52424
12 Houston Dynamo Eastern 50506
13 FC Dallas Western 41744
14 Montreal Impact Eastern 37007
15 San Jose Earthquakes Western 31543
16 Vancouver Whitecaps FC Western 28429
17 Columbus Crew Eastern 24162
18 Chivas USA Western 21053
19 Colorado Rapids Western 20205

Full disclosure: I Liked DC United on Facebook.

More about this project: Ranking Facebook Likes for MLB, NFL, NHL, NBA and MLS

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My take on “Rooting Interests: Who are D.C. fans?”

Rooting Interests: Who are D.C. fans?The Post
The Post did a survey on Washington D.C. sports fans attitudes, favorite teams/owners, etc. recently. It mostly confirms what we already know about D.C. area fans:

“Washington fans are really a wonderful blend of the best parts of Northern tier fans and Sun Belt fans,” former Washington Nationals president Stan Kasten said. “They’re really in the middle.”

Kasten is right on the money here which makes things like his marketing to Phillies fans all the stranger.

Washington is a Redskins town (less and less as the losses pile up and the owner is an embarrassment) and then a winners town. The Capitals are hot because they are winning, but I think that fanbase has reached critical mass in the sense that in the down years that will someday come, they will not be the afterthought they were during the dark years. I (and seemingly everyone else) expect the Nats fanbase to grow as the young, elite talent matures and the team continues to improve. The Wizards could become a really big deal if they can become a contender like the Caps. I think Ted Leonsis is correct that a strong Wizards team could awaken a sleeping giant of a basketball fanbase. Or at least a insomniac with a pituitary problem. As for D.C. United, the future does not look good as they have one foot out the door on the way to Baltimore for a new stadium they have not been able to get built around here. That saddens me, because I like having the option of a pro soccer team nearby. Who knows, my son may love soccer and want to go. I’m not planning on paying any attention to them if they leave BeltwayLand.

As for my own preferences, here is how I rank the D.C. teams in terms of attention paid-to, merchandise owned and a hope for a championship parade (although any would do at this point)

1.) Nats – on board since day 1, I attend Opening Day every year, go to more of their games than anybody else. I have caps, a jersey, t-shirts, mugs, other stuff.
2.) Caps – went to a game a year in the 1990s, got back into them early 2000s and went to a lot of games during the dark years, now one annually since tickets are hard to get. I have caps, jerseys, a giveaway t-shirt
3.) Skins – went from liking a different team to NFL apathy (Penn State does that to a man) to “if I am going to be a Washingtonian, I need to root for them despite Dan Snyder.” I bought a circa 1991 jersey off of ebay.
4.) Wiz/United – I enjoy going to each of their games and may turn them on TV from time to time. I owned a Bullets cap once but want a “clc” logo shirt now. If DCU stays, I’ll get a t-shirt.

There was some controversy over this article that dared to suggest that a demographic group who have are more likely to have lived in the area longer are most likely to support the most established local team. People were looking for stuff that wasn’t there.

Oh and about D.C.’s Greatest Fan, someone is missing. It’s just not right!

In the end though, I almost find the timing of this coverage — in the middle of the NFL season instead of say, the dead of winter or August, the most curious part of the whole endeavor.

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RFK Stadium’s 50th anniversary

Opening Day flag
RFK Stadium at age 50: Redskins, baseball and much moreThe Post
Happy 50th Birthday, RFK Stadium!SB Nation DC
THOMAS BOSWELL: RFK Stadium: After 50 years, it’s still personalThe Post
GALLERY: A look back at RFK StadiumThe Post
UPDATED 10.03.2011: When RFK Stadium opened DC Sports Bog, The Post (yay mega nerd)

Last week I noted the 50th anniversary of the final game at Griffith Stadium. Several days later (50 years ago today), District of Columbia Stadium opened for a Washington Redskins vs. New York Football Giants. The visitors won 24-21 and it would be years before it became an intimidating and beloved venue. During the Joe Gibbs era, it was probably the toughest place to play for visitors in the NFC. The USFL’s Washington Federals also played football at RFK for two seasons in the 1980s.

[flickr : Photos tagged with RFK Stadium/slideshow]

The Washington Senators moved into D.C. Stadium in 1962 saw very little success, having a winning season there only once, 1969, the same year the stadium was renamed after slain senator, Robert F. Kennedy. It is worth noting that the Senators were the first winning team to play there, at least based on overall season record. The Senators moved out of town following the 1971 season.

Did you know it was almost known as LBJ Stadium?

For years, RFK Stadium was a handy piece of leverage for MLB teams looking to get a new venue built. The threat of moving to RFK Stadium got a stadium built for the Houston Astros and helped the cause of several others. It wasn’t until 2005 that it got to be used as a baseball stadium permanently when the Washington Nationals were created out of what was left of the Montreal Expos. The Nats played there for 3 seasons before moving to Nationals Park. I think I saw 32 games there and here are the RFK memories I wrote up in 2007

United match

DC United is the lone regular tennant at RFK and I am disappointed I didn’t get out to see them this season. I did get there in 2006 and had a great time. That being said, I hope DCU gets a new venue and RFK can eventually torn down to make may for a new Redskins stadium.

RFK Stadium has alsobeen the home of many international soccer games, including some of the 1994 World Cup. The Washington Diplomats also played at RFK.

Mr. $nyder tear down this stadium

When the Redskins played their final game at RFK, The Post did a great section about the history of the venue. The design is half-broken and dated, but the content is still great.

Ballpark still life

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