Commentary

D.C. United deal on new digs has lots going for it

By Paul Kennedy

D.C. United may finally extricate itself from stadium limbo.

(VIEWING ALERT: Remember to catch Bob Bradley, Egypt national team coach and former U.S. national team coach, on Comedy Central's Daily Show with John Oliver tonight Thursday at 11 p.m./10 p.m. CT. Here's Bradley and his agent, Ron Waxman, in the green room.)

The MLS club announced a preliminary agreement with the District of Columbia to build a 20,000 to 25,000-seat soccer stadium at a cost of $300 million in an industrial area on Buzzard Point, not far from where the baseball Nationals have their stadium, in Southwest Washington.
 
D.C. United has been negotiating with D.C. officials for a decade on a new stadium deal as well as looked at moving to sites in neighboring Maryland and Virginia.

It hopes to move into its new digs in 2016.

In the meantime, D.C. United remains stuck at decaying RFK Stadium, which was built in 1960. It is the last of MLS's original 10 teams that is still playing in the same venue in 2013 as it did in 1996 when the league launched.

Naysayers will point out D.C. United has been down the stadium deal path before without anything coming to fruition, though this deal is on much more solid ground.

Among the factors being cited for believing that this time a D.C. soccer stadium will finally be built:

-- Better economic environment for D.C. generally and the real estate market in particular.
-- Better political environment to get deal's plans approved by city council members -- former mayor Marion Barry backs the deal -- and various governmental bodies.
-- Committed club investors -- new partners Erick Thorir and Jason Levien arrived a year ago -- ready and able to deal and contribute to the financing to the tune of $150 million.
-- Solutions to the complicated task of finding land through land swaps that pay for the cost of $150 million to acquire the land and pay for infrastructure work.
-- Added piece to redevelopment projects going up in area and a second destination stadium to go up in the area along with Nationals Park.
-- Walking distance from Metro station and next to planned streetcar line, especially important to attract D.C. residents and young fans -- core MLS supporters group -- without cars.

FURTHER READING: Dan Malouff’s To build a soccer stadium, DC will swap the Reeves Center at BeyondDC

Original MLS 10-where are they now?
TEAM STADIUM (YEAR MOVED)
Columbus:
Crew Stadium (1999)
New England: Gillette Stadium II (2002)
Los Angeles: StubHub Center (2003)
FC Dallas: FC Dallas Stadium (2005)
Colorado: Dick's Sporting Goods Park (2007)
New York: Red Bull Arena (2008)
Sporting KC: Sporting Park (2011)
D.C. United: RFK Stadium (through 2015?)
Tampa Bay: folded (2001)
San Jose: moved to Houston (2006)
(Note: Only New England hasn't moved into a soccer-specific stadium although it is in the exploratory stage of looking for stadium site.)

ARSENAL ON ONE WORLD. ONE World Sports has reached a deal with Arsenal to air three-hour blocks of delayed gamecasts accompanied by interviews, features and analysis. The agreement follows deals it has reached with Bayern Munich and Chelsea.

The Arsenal programming block is scheduled to air on Sunday nights, starting at 9 p.m. (ET).  Chelsea and Bayern Munich programming will be telecast on Monday and Tuesday nights, respectively.

The new programming adds almost 400 hours of content from these three clubs.
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