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D.C. support plummets at RFK Stadium
by Paul Kennedy, April 2nd, 2014 8:04PM
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TAGS:  d.c. united, mls, soccer business

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[ATTENDANCE WATCH] D.C. United's need to find a new stadium is all the more apparent when you look at the situation at RFK Stadium, where the club's support is dwindling. The crowd of 9,445 for Saturday's nationally televised game against Chicago was the club's fifth lowest since its launch in 1996.

MLS: Week 4 Crowds
ATT. MATCH
38,469 Seattle-Columbus
21,000 Vancouver-Houston
18,881 Real Salt Lake-Toronto FC
15,691 Philadelphia-Montreal
16,045 FC Dallas-Portland
15,225
New York-Chivas USA
12,203 Colorado-Sporting KC
10,525 San Jose-New England
9,445 D.C. United-Chicago
Note: announced sellouts in bold.

Week 4 average: 17,498
Season average: 19,035

A decaying stadium doesn't help, but D.C. United's problems are exacerbated by its inability to win. The 2-2 tie with Chicago -- a match played in the rain -- extended its MLS winless streak to 14 games dating back to 2013.

D.C. Mayoral Primary: Incumbent supporter of D.C. United stadium loses

Even last season when it set an MLS record for the fewest wins in a season (3), D.C. United never drew a crowd in four digits. As recently as 2007, D.C. United averaged 20,967 fans a game to rank second in MLS. It led the league in attendance in 2001 with average of 21,518 fans a game even though it finished with an 8-16-2 record.

D.C. United is averaging 11,643 fans a game to rank 17th out of 19 teams, its same ranking in 2013 when it only finished ahead of San Jose and Chivas USA with an average of 13,646 fans a game, only slightly better than its season low of 13,483 fans per game set the previous year.

D.C. United's Smallest MLS Crowds
ATT. MATCH (YEAR)
7,360 D.C. United-New England (Sept. 17, 1996)
7,422 D.C. United-Columbus (March 15, 1996)
8,033 D.C. United-Kansas City (Sept.  9, 2009)
8,053 D.C. United-MetroStars (Sept.  6, 1996)
9,445 D.C. United-Chicago (March 29, 2014)


6 comments
  1. Eric in DC
    commented on: April 3, 2014 at 8:22 a.m.
    I was at this game. It was a ghost town. A rainy, cold, windy, sopping-wet, ghost town! Turn out probably would've been better if not for the weather. But let's be honest: a lot of fans are still hung over from last year's miserable season, and we haven't won a league game since around August! We don't trust the owners and most people think Olsen is out of his depth (despite what he did for the club for so many years as a player). The season is young, but fans are unimpressed by the front office's lack of vision.
  1. I w Nowozeniuk
    commented on: April 3, 2014 at 10:24 a.m.
    RFK is a dog venue...time to grease those slippery politicians to make the new stadium project happen.
  1. Miguel Dedo
    commented on: April 3, 2014 at 1:11 p.m.
    Other than Mayor Gray saying he "supports" a new stadium, is anything going on? There was a press release about a "plan" last fall as season tickets went on sale, no news of any action at all since. Some good investigative journalism is needed, the Washington Post sports department does nothing. Steven Goff, the Post's "soccer writer" seems to have been chosen because he will sit meekly aside, not challenge the Post's established writers who have interest only in traditional US sports, mention soccer only in a negative aside.
  1. Joy Hottington
    commented on: April 4, 2014 at 12:29 p.m.
    I'd love it if Goff were to write articles pushing for a stadium, but I'm not sure he views that as his job. Mike Wise (I think) wrote a nice article a while back pushing for the stadium.
  1. Clayton Davis
    commented on: April 4, 2014 at 1:53 p.m.
    The owners of DC United are trying to play moneyball, and they're doing a very poor job! Who wants to support a team that does that? Everybody likes Ben Olsen, but he's got a very poor coach and behind the scenes probably rolls over too easily for the owners. Most of the stadium reporting in the area is not done by sports people, but rather political reporters and takes a very negative tone. D.C.'s just failed to keep up with the times. It's fallen behind the rest of the league. It's not a good time now to be a fan.
  1. Glenn Maddock
    commented on: April 6, 2014 at 6:48 p.m.
    What about Baltimore? Let's move DC to a city that will build a stadium and fill it.

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