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United's Offense

Perhaps sensing the club is falling behind in the public-relations battle for a stadium in Prince George's County, D.C. United President Kevin Payne seized the initiative today by issuing a letter of sorts to the team's supporters. Read it by clicking here.

"We have to let the lawmakers know that we want the stadium, and we'll fill it up once it's built. A failure in this effort could have far-reaching effects -- the bottom line is we cannot remain long-term in RFK, and this is the only stadium option, which is available to us now."

What do you think about Payne's comments and the current prospects of a new stadium?

By Steve Goff  |  March 10, 2009; 2:29 PM ET
Categories:  D.C. United  
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Next: United Acquires Goalie

Comments

I have no problem sending an email saying I'll be renewing my season tickets.

I also have no problem if the MD lawmakers examine the revenue assumptions that the public funding is based on. Somebody should be performing the due diligence so the taxpayers don't take a hit. I don't think the issue is selling out DC United games, I think the issue is, will that revenue be enough to repay the bonds and if not how realistic are the assumptions that are being made. I can't imagine lingerie football in Denver is helping the cause.

DCU and stadium supporters better have answers to the lawmakers' legitimate questions if they expect MD taxpayers to stand behind the stadium bonds.

Posted by: OWNTF | March 10, 2009 2:45 PM | Report abuse

Did Fenty just smirk?

Posted by: Hoost | March 10, 2009 2:49 PM | Report abuse

I sent my letter off. My wedding in Maryland last year should have generated enough tax revenue to finance the entire stadium in one fell swoop :)

I love Will Chang but he and MacFarlane might need to revisit the FO situation. DCU management's pursuit of a stadium in PG seems awfully similar to "landing" Veron.

Posted by: churtmah | March 10, 2009 2:50 PM | Report abuse

I think he is way late in doing this.

I wish he'd been consulting Checketts about how tough the fight was going to be...and about what Checketts learned about the effects of not early-on getting out in front of shaping opinion.

Posted by: seahawkdad | March 10, 2009 2:54 PM | Report abuse

Will a team jersey be presented to some PG Co. hack at the home opener this year with a year number on the back? Anthony Williams has a whole closet of those running sequentially (The Night Owl might have one or two as well). Fenty's got one too but it has just a question mark on it.

Posted by: lgm6986 | March 10, 2009 3:01 PM | Report abuse

So I've already received a message from Melanie Griffith's staff saying they are very busy, but if any matters were time sensitive(this obviously is) if we included HB 1282 in the subject line of these emails we will have a better chance of getting these time sensitive messages to the delegates!!!

@Goff: Thanks for posting this info as a thread, and though I know you have "no emotional attachment" to the club, I hope you've found the time to join fellow Virginians in supporting the stadium push!

I personally had been waiting for an opportunity just like this for Virginians, and DC folks alike to do something to keep the club from moving completely out of the area. Let your fingers do the talking people!

Posted by: DadRyan | March 10, 2009 3:03 PM | Report abuse

I get the feeling that as long as DCU expects to have someone else pay more than 50 percent of the stadium's construction, DCU will continue to have problems/challenges/issues/fill-in-the-blank.

Posted by: Juan-John | March 10, 2009 3:17 PM | Report abuse

What do you think about Payne's comments and the current prospects of a new stadium?

That they're shrinking?

Actually, that's pessimistic. Honestly, I don't think this is going to hinge on United's fans convincing the state legislature (though it can't hurt). The important thing is getting strong support from the Stadium Authority (seems to be there) - and MacFarlane showing the state that he has a great idea for overall development. I'm more worried about the latter, especially with concerns about the size of potential Metro friendly land parcels.

Posted by: Kev29 | March 10, 2009 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Liverpool-Real Madrid 3:30 p.m. ESPN, ESPN Deportes

Posted by: joedoc1 | March 10, 2009 3:36 PM | Report abuse

Crazier news on BTB:
http://www.behindthebadge.com/2009/03/josh-wicks-acquired.php
Why do we need another keeper???????

Posted by: DadRyan | March 10, 2009 3:43 PM | Report abuse

I'm having a really hard time getting excited about a stadium in PG county... Yes, RFK is a rathole, but it's a really convenient rathole!!!

I'm really weary about the prospect of a DC United version of FedEx field.

Posted by: jrnail23 | March 10, 2009 3:45 PM | Report abuse

DadRyan, I was going to say that getting Josh Wicks is a real bargain, just for his hair... then I saw his new photo.

WHERE'S THE 'FRO?!?!?!

Posted by: jrnail23 | March 10, 2009 3:46 PM | Report abuse

jrnail23 - I know not everyone posting has the exact same knowledge of the stadium complexities - but you should get up to speed. United's Stadium Proposal FAQ via Behind the Badge is a good start...

http://www.behindthebadge.com/2009/02/dc-united-stadium-proposal-faq.php

Posted by: Kev29 | March 10, 2009 3:53 PM | Report abuse

DCU is going to LA for keeper help? Oh boy.

Posted by: Reignking | March 10, 2009 3:58 PM | Report abuse

Without the fro he looks 15 pounds lighter... weird.

@jrnail23: if the stadium doesn't get built soon, DCU is going to be relocated. If any of us want to see the club stay in the area period people need to quit whining about how THEY are being inconvenienced and help support the push regardless.
Mastodon Juan has lent his support, you should be able to match that at the very least wether you like it or not.

Posted by: DadRyan | March 10, 2009 3:59 PM | Report abuse

Sent! Does the FO receive a copy of our letter to see that fans are helping?

Posted by: jermWV | March 10, 2009 4:01 PM | Report abuse

'm having a really hard time getting excited about a stadium in PG county... Yes, RFK is a rathole, but it's a really convenient rathole!!!

I'm really weary about the prospect of a DC United version of FedEx field.

Posted by: jrnail23 | March 10, 2009 3:45 PM

Long ago, I wearied of comments like this one...as if Poplar Point was convenient for anyone not living in Alexandria or on the Green Line (and not many people live on the Green Line)...

A Morgan Blvd stadium is a huge improvement over what DCU has now, and that's really the only consideration from the team's vantage point -- and, it should be the major consideration from any fan's point. Sure, it's another political jurisdiction (because that's how the boundaries were drawn 200 years ago), but it's only a few miles away. Get over it, and get behind it. If this fails, it's hard to imagine the alternative. It will be years before DC offers a viable alternative. 2012 at Morgan Blvd. Poplar Point? 2015? Or, is that being unduly optimistic?

Posted by: fischy | March 10, 2009 4:04 PM | Report abuse

Mastodon Juan has lent his support, you should be able to match that at the very least whether you like it or not.

Posted by: DadRyan | March 10, 2009 3:59 PM
=========================

I never thought I'd live to see Mastodon Juan be our standard bearer. I'm not complaining and I'm grateful for his suppport. But yeah, if MJ is behind this, excuses based on distance seem really petty.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | March 10, 2009 4:11 PM | Report abuse

I too feel there should be due diligence done on a deal like this. But, as a soccer fan, I also get miffed that those considerations go out the window for football, basketball and baseball all the time. If I'm already paying for FedEx field, where I can't afford to see the local team play anyways, then why can't we pony up some dollars for DCU as well?

Posted by: Matte | March 10, 2009 4:16 PM | Report abuse

jrnail23:

Morgan Blvd. is more convenient than St. Louis. If the team can't get this deal done, the only 2 likely scenarios are a) MacFarlane and Chang sell the team, hopefully to someone that doesn't want to move (though after 2 jurisdictions turned us down, that would be hardly a given) or b) the team is moved.

***

Sent. I might have set a record for finding ways to refer to myself as a Marylander/Maryland voter/Maryland taxpayer without coming off as a jerk.

As for the Wicks signing...well, let's just say I really really really hope Crayton has no more injury problems after this hip flexor thing. Wicks did not impress me in the least with LA

Posted by: Chest_Rockwell | March 10, 2009 4:28 PM | Report abuse

If I'm already paying for FedEx field, where I can't afford to see the local team play anyways, then why can't we pony up some dollars for DCU as well?

Posted by: Matte | March 10, 2009 4:16 PM

There might be a spot for you in the US Treasury Department.

Posted by: OWNTF | March 10, 2009 4:31 PM | Report abuse

What do I think of Payne's comment? I think Kevin needs to learn the proper use of commas ;-)

I sent in a well thought out response, which is to say I mostly copied the excellent letter seahawkdad sent already and added some of my own points :-)

This Wicks thing makes zero sense to me. 1) We don't need yet another back-up quality GK in camp or on the roster and B) Wicks is horrible! He couldn't even beat out Cronin for a job last year, and that guy may be the worst GK I have ever seen at any level.

Posted by: dcufan | March 10, 2009 4:35 PM | Report abuse

This is the letter I submitted on the DC United submission page:

"I'm writing in regards to House Bill 1282, which would authorize support for a soccer-specific stadium for DC United.

"First, I have to say I am no longer a Maryland resident. But I will say this: I am a supporter of American professional club soccer; and I am also a traveling sports fan, which means I will at some point be spending entertainment dollars at a DC United stadium.

"As the premier Major League Soccer franchise since its inception in 1996, DC United deserves to have a facility that is world class and a showcase for great American soccer, whether it's DCU or the US mens national team or the Washington Freedom of Women's Professional Soccer.

"DC United, and more broadly, soccer in the nation's capital and in the United States in general, deserves your support. Please support HB 1282 and a soccer specific stadium in Prince Georges County.

"Thanks for your time in reading."

Posted by: SportzNut21 | March 10, 2009 4:37 PM | Report abuse

Don't get me wrong guys, if it's MD or nothing, then I'm all in... I'm just feeling a little disappointment after getting my hopes up for Poplar Point (back when there was still hope).

Posted by: jrnail23 | March 10, 2009 4:38 PM | Report abuse

Just out of curiosity Matte - how are you paying for FedEx Field?

Posted by: Kev29 | March 10, 2009 4:45 PM | Report abuse

sent my email..basically said with a DC united stadium I will be spending my money in the state 16 times a year, without the DC united stadium I'll be spending my money in the state zero times a year. Also mentioned the two national TV contracts and national and worldwide exposure for Prince George's county.

Posted by: DCU_VW | March 10, 2009 5:11 PM | Report abuse

I sent my letter to my delegates and senator. I also sent DC United's letter to everybody I know in the soccer community asking them to do the same.

The biggest problem from a PR standpoint is most of the uninformed people in the community think this is being paid out of their current tax dollars. DC United needs to get the word out that this is not the case. I would also like to add that the Washington Post has done a very good job at fanning the flames of this unrest. In my opinion the reporting has appeared to be very slanted against this bill. That last story that only interviewed the local politicians and disregarded the others throughout the state while also ignoring data that supported the bond repayment was a joke. It was pure speculation and even worse, the speculation was all one sided. Where were the interviews with the differing opinions or speculations?

Posted by: croftonpost | March 10, 2009 5:45 PM | Report abuse

What I think is that if this stadium deal doesn't get done, then DC United will be moving in a couple of years.

I think that even in these tough economic times, they'll find a city to build a stadium and then they'll be gone.

Kind of funny they are looking for opportunities to create jobs - no matter where it's built, the stadium won't build itself.

Posted by: roadkit | March 10, 2009 6:18 PM | Report abuse

Glad to see Kevin and DC United waking up. One reason they lost in DC was their silence. Here is a copy of my letter:

I urge you to support HB 1282 and development of a stadium in Prince Georges County.

The issue is jobs for Maryland. You are not voting to support a stadium, DC United, soccer or entertainment. You are voting for jobs.

- Construction jobs will be created while the stadium is built, starting as soon as late 2009; and
- Long term jobs will be created at the stadium and the surrounding development.

These jobs and the accompanying economic development will not cost the Maryland taxpayers any additional money. The funding for the stadium is not a bailout, not a subsidy, not a handout. The money will come from me and thousands of others attending the stadium. When we buy tickets, when we eat and drink, we will be bringing money to Maryland that we currently spend in the District of Columbia.

The stadium will bring additional tax revenue to Maryland. The taxes paid by those new workers and the stadium taxes in excess of what is required to pay for the bonds is new revenue for Maryland.

Private businessmen are willing to risk millions of dollars of their own money to bring economic development to Maryland. Maryland’s investment is lending its support to bonds to fund this development. The risk to Maryland is low; the returns are high and almost immediate.

As a Virginian, I regret that my politicians are not considering development like this. It would be more convenient for me to continue to travel to the District of Columbia. But the loss for those jurisdictions can be Maryland’s gain with your vote.

Please support HB 1282.

Posted by: AlwaysBiking | March 10, 2009 6:34 PM | Report abuse

One of the key talking points, if you're trying to persuade others to help out, is that all Maryland stadiums, including this one, pay a special 11% "Amusement Tax" to fund themselves. That's how they get built without hitting the taxpayer.

Posted by: stancollins | March 10, 2009 6:59 PM | Report abuse

This PA resident just sent out my email letting the MD lawmakers know that my family and I are season ticket holders, will pay for our gas in MD on trips to the stadium, will buy food for our tailgates in MD and will do our flying out of MD airports should MD get the stadium.

Fingers crossed.

Posted by: CrippledKeeper | March 10, 2009 8:19 PM | Report abuse

So Steve, if worst comes to worst, will there be a soccer beat?

Posted by: seahawkdad | March 10, 2009 8:19 PM | Report abuse

just sent in my e-mail

come on everyone!

Posted by: Pedalada | March 10, 2009 8:32 PM | Report abuse

E-mailed three delegates, one senator, and sent a message through the website. I didn't know I had so many delegates in the MD statehouse. Man, this soccer is an educational sport.

Now I'm slightly ashamed that I never sent them any e-mails about schools.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | March 10, 2009 8:41 PM | Report abuse

No United, no soccer beat.

I've always wanted to work at Whole Foods.

I may get my wish.

Posted by: Steve Goff | March 10, 2009 9:09 PM | Report abuse

SENT!


"Hey there from the Great South. My name is Jacob Austin, and I'm here to talk to you about HB 1282. I've lived in Atlanta all my 20+ years here on earth, been through Maryland twice, once on my way to New York, and another on the way back. I've grown to respect and follow DC United, but really have few incentives to go see them in person. The stadium they play in now is by all reports a major dump, and the money spent there does not make it to the team itself. I can, however, promise each and every one of you that if this stadium is built, I will do my part to pay back the bonds needed to build the stadium (most of which when you think about it would be for paying the workers hired in a rough economy, creating desperately needed job opportunities) with what little money I would be able to spare. I can promise you I WILL go to at least one game that first year. I can promise you I WILL stay in a Maryland hotel. I can promise you I WILL eat in Maryland restraunts. I can promise you I WILL buy something from a local store. Please approve this action for the sake of the team, it's dedicated fans, and all of your state's citizens. Please."


Posted by: JacobfromAtlanta-ish | March 10, 2009 9:37 PM | Report abuse

Whole Foods Steve?!?! That blows my mind thinking about it...

Posted by: DadRyan | March 10, 2009 11:46 PM | Report abuse

Add one more response:

"I am writing to voice my strong support for for HB 1282 to authorize the construction of a stadium for the DC United Soccer Club. As a fan of the club since it's inception and a Maryland taxpayer, I see this as the best of both worlds for many reasons. First and foremost, this is a proposal that has already received a POSITIVE review from the Maryland Stadium Authority. As the primary oversight group for the construction of large public assembly facilities, I put a great deal of weight in what they say, and given their excellent track record (Camden Yards, the Raven's football stadium, the expansion of the Ocean City Convention Center and yes, even FedEx field have all generated good returns on the state investment dollars) I believe you should as well. In addition, the proposed stadium is not some enormous monstronsity; it it scaled (+/- 25,000 seats) to the usage that can reasonably be expected of it while not competing with nearby facilities for business. At that size, other sporting events, gatherings and especially popular concerts that might be too small for a football stadium but too large for, say Merriweather Post Pavilion,can be readily accomodated to expand the expected usage of the facility from 40-50 dates to anywhere from 75-100 (best case), or 60-70 (worst case). Second, the proposal offers a variety of economic benefits in both the short and long term. New employment opportunities (initially in construction, later in the operation of the facility), a new source of sales and entertainment taxes that previously went to the District of Columbia, and potential for additional consumer spending in the area around the stadium for food, entertainment and gasoline (depending on the location chosen) are all major pluses. In addition, please keep in mind that DC United will not only be relocating their home field, but also their management offices and practice facilities to Prince George's County and visiting clubs will be utilizing hotels and restaurants in the area during their stays for matches, further increasing the benefits of the club's move. Finally, this is not a proposal that relies on ANY EXISTING PUBLIC FUNDING. Between the team's stated financial commitment and the plan to have the facility paid for by taxes paid by stadium patrons, the public at large will not have to come out of pocket for construction or maintenance.

I believe that this is a win-win proposal all around, and I strongly urge you to vote "YES" on HB 1282."

Anyone who wishes to cut and past/plagerize, by all means help yourself...

Posted by: throwin | March 11, 2009 10:41 AM | Report abuse

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