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Will They Build It?

Today's poll.....

By Steve Goff  |  March 11, 2009; 11:56 AM ET
Categories:  D.C. United , Poll  
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Next: MLS Cup in Seattle

Comments

There should be another poll rating the confidence of the voters vote.

Posted by: sitruc | March 11, 2009 12:08 PM | Report abuse

This is all depressing me.

Posted by: the_slammer | March 11, 2009 12:12 PM | Report abuse

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Posted by: JkR- | March 11, 2009 12:25 PM | Report abuse

lifetime season ticket holder here.

Let's be realistic. The majority of stadiums are NOT engines for economic development (there are numerous studies on this issue). Yes, some may point to Verizon Center, but that is the exception, not the rule. Abe Pollin paid for that, with DC kicking in for infrastructure. Also, the businesses around the Verizon center got (I think) a 10 year tax exemption. Can't compare it.

Now it is time to play devils advocate. If the DCU owners/brass are so confident that this stadium is going to be the financial juggernaut they are touting, then why not pay for it themselves? Answer? One is they don't want to take the risk. Yes -- the construction and everything will create jobs, but in the long run, most jobs created will be low paying, operations jobs.

I live in VA, and will happily drive to MD to watch games. I would still drive (or metro) to DC and or Virginia. I just wouldn't want my tax dollars going to a stadium. NOw if they wanted to institute a sin tax on beer sales/food sales etc. at RFK (oe some other idea) to generate money for a stadium, I'm all for that. I can CHOOSE to not buy food and beer. I'm also in favor of MJs idea about fans ponying up and buying in.

With localities needing road improvements, better teachers, services etc., I don't think tax money should be used for stadiums. now everyone is going to point out that the taxpayers are not footing the bill. Don't be so sure of that. It boils down to taxpayers fronting the money.

Here is an interesting thought. The league is still somewhat of a single-entity right? so why is the League office not getting involved in some way.

When it is all said and done, I hope the team stays here. I think there aren't many better markets that could support a team.

Posted by: torrey151 | March 11, 2009 12:26 PM | Report abuse

It's hard to get taxpayers to realize that stadiums are good for the community. They think it's tax money wasted on soccer freaks. York PA built a baseball stadium a couple of years ago but only after a heck of a political battle. Once the stadium opened resteraunts followed and luxury appartments are being built in the surrounding area.

The citizens will never approve tax money being used for a soccer stadium. Lawmakers and taxpayers need to be informed about the intangable benefits a stadium brings.

Actually, if the project was ready to go, it would be a good project for Federal Stimulus money.

Posted by: 9Nine9 | March 11, 2009 12:36 PM | Report abuse

Scene: Several PG politicians are wandering in an open field near a Metro stop, just looking around the area.

The Voice: If you build it, they will come.

All of the politicos stop in place, stunned.

One asks another, did you just say something? No, wasn't me, they say.

The voice whispers again: If you build it, they will come.

There it is again! The officials all look around, wondering where that voice is coming from.

If you build it, they will come.

Suddenly, in the distance, an image of a brightly-lit, modern, almost European-style soccer stadium shimmers into view...and suddenly, the gaggle of PG County politicians realizes what has to be done.

Now all this story needs is someone to play the James Earl Jones role and give a stirring, fantastic speech to rally support at that moment when Kevin Costner's faith is starting to waver. "Oh, people will come, Ray...people will definitely come."

Posted by: SportzNut21 | March 11, 2009 12:46 PM | Report abuse

I have not been impressed with Will and Victor's ability to get their message out to the public.

Perhaps their message (getting public support for a private stadium) will always be a difficult sell, but nonetheless it hasn't struck me as being well orchestrated PR, be it Poplar Point or now in PG County.

Posted by: JkR- | March 11, 2009 12:47 PM | Report abuse

9Nine9, I'm sure they have been warned about the intangible benefits to soccer stadiums - name one SSS that has done what you said happened in York? The answer - none; not Carson, not Frisco, not Brideview, not Commerce City.... If you were investing public funds, I don't think there's one example of evidence to support soccer.

If DCU's ownership wants a stadium, pony up. I know Kevin Payne is revered in these parts but you have to give him a giant F in all this - the club was losing millions years ago when RFK was still a dump, so the sudden rush now, during the worst recession in a generation, is not just bad timing, but embarrassing. Go ahead, write your letters to the city council, but there are far more important issues out there right now that they should be dealing with.

Posted by: ZidVicious | March 11, 2009 12:48 PM | Report abuse

...it's "Pitch of Dreams" -- in more ways than one.

Posted by: SportzNut21 | March 11, 2009 12:48 PM | Report abuse

Let's be serious -- the team isn't moving. That's not hopeful thinking, it's reality. The league won't permit one of its top three entities to pull up stakes and head to another city.

WHY the league hasn't been more involved is another issue. Unlike most cities, Washington is unique because of its home to the federal government. Some options open to other cities aren't available here. That's why I think the league needs to step in with some sort of funding arrangement and take the pressure off Maryland's local and state governments. A commitment from the league will tell the politicos that the league is committed to making it work.

Posted by: joedoc1 | March 11, 2009 12:56 PM | Report abuse

You may choose to believe me or not, but I have it on an extremely reliable source that DCU brass is now entertaining relocation thoughts. People, if you care about this team stop debating the merits of the stadium location and start e-mailing the government officials now.

Steve- where's the Washington Post article about the possibility of relocation if this effort fails. It is undeniably a legitimate pursuit. The other side has unquestionably rallied around WP articles, the soccer community side deserves an article that informs them of the severity of this.

Posted by: croftonpost | March 11, 2009 1:01 PM | Report abuse

While I don't think politicians are thrilled about voting to fund this stadium, I don't think they want to be the ones to kill it off, either. DCU may have to assume some portion of risk (hint: pledge to cover cost overruns), but it will get done.

Posted by: fischy | March 11, 2009 1:07 PM | Report abuse

We can go on about whether this is a political thing, or if the Metro section's reporting is biased or not, but to me that's missing the forest for the trees. What matters at this point is doing everything possible to ensure that the team stays in the area. Garber has made it clear that without a stadium, the team can be moved. MacFarlane and Payne have both said that without a stadium in the near future, the possibility of a move would be as serious as a heart attack. There is no safety net. There's no room for sentiments like "Oh, this won't happen to us, we're DC United".

I have a serious question for the regulars here who know me well enough to know that I'm not prone to overreaction or "sky is falling" hyperbole: Am I nuts to be seriously worried about the team moving? I mean, I know it's not going to happen tomorrow, but what happens when the new lease at RFK ends? What happens when Dan Snyder calls the city and says "I'm building my Snyderdome starting tomorrow, make it happen", and they of course do it in a fashion that makes the Nats deal look brilliant?

I could barely sleep last night over this. We can all do our part in letting the council members know how vital it is, but what if it's not enough? It takes an awful lot of loud voices to shout down $47 million. Should we be working on a Plan B as fans? If so, what could that be? Should I be going up to rich-looking people and trying to talk them into buying the team/becoming part of the ownership group (adding one more pool of money that can bridge the gap)?

Posted by: Chest_Rockwell | March 11, 2009 1:14 PM | Report abuse

A commitment from the league will tell the politicos that the league is committed to making it work.

Posted by: joedoc1 | March 11, 2009 12:56 PM
==================

I would guess that the league does not want to show favoritism to any team.
[Pause for laughter]

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | March 11, 2009 1:15 PM | Report abuse

joedoc:

If MLS "won't permit one of its top three entities to pull up stakes and head to another city", then where's the cavalry? If the league wanted to jump in on this, they would have done so to keep the team in DC. Instead, they left it to ownership to figure out on its own. Garber's public statements have basically been "Yeah, you guys should get that done". I would be floored if we got help beyond good luck wishes from MLS on this one.

I want to share your faith that MLS, uncle Phil, and the rest are going to have our back, but I feel like they would have already jumped in if they did.

Posted by: Chest_Rockwell | March 11, 2009 1:25 PM | Report abuse

Why exactly is it not an option to rebuild at RFK? Infrastructure is there. Metro is there. Just give DCU control of revenue.

Posted by: SeanWG | March 11, 2009 1:42 PM | Report abuse

What ever happened to Garber's blog? Anyone got his email address?

Posted by: DadRyan | March 11, 2009 1:44 PM | Report abuse

chest rockwell,

It is serious. I wasn't kidding. My source on this was very reliable. Relocation is a very definite possibility if this fails. Send e-mails everyone!

Posted by: croftonpost | March 11, 2009 1:45 PM | Report abuse

Chest, I hear you, and while watching St. Louis united on DK would be cheaper than season tix, somehow bouncing on my couch won't feel the same, and my wife will get mad if I toss a smokebomb or yell "hey beerman".

Seriously, though, what I want to know is this: If there were five original proposals for Poplar Point, what happened to the other four when the winner fell through? My recollection is that all, or perhaps 4 of the 5, included a stadium option. Is the land just going to sit vacant now?

Thinking also about the other side of the equation, are places like St. Louis going to want to pony up in this economy? I think a new stadium is going to be a tough sell for ANY locality over the next few years. That actually makes me wonder whether the team would even move -- maybe they would just disband. So I agree with croftonpost - Goff, where's the article about the consequences of NOT getting a stadium deal?

Posted by: regularfan | March 11, 2009 1:52 PM | Report abuse

croftonpost,

Just so I know exactly how much I should be worried, is your source from the team or county?

Posted by: Josh8 | March 11, 2009 1:52 PM | Report abuse

I know where the team could have had an extra 1.9 million....... ;)

Posted by: DCU_VW | March 11, 2009 2:01 PM | Report abuse

It wasn't from the county. That's all I will say.

Posted by: croftonpost | March 11, 2009 2:05 PM | Report abuse

You may choose to believe me or not, but I have it on an extremely reliable source that DCU brass is now entertaining relocation thoughts.
Posted by: croftonpost | March 11, 2009 1:01 PM
Oh, No. I'm not gonna go there.

I'm all for Uncles V and Will trying to see what they can get out of my county but I'm not going to go the route of the Seattle Supersonic/Montreal Expo/Miami FC fans. I admire those fans for what they tried to do. And I still remember watching the Baltimore Colts slink out of town, watching it live, during th wee hours of the morning.

I'm not going to be held hostage. If they are seriously looking at relocation--with the resources that those guys have/had--I'm not going there.

I'm all for trying to lobby on behalf my county government and my local council member Tommy D but I'm not going to get caught up in the anxiety of "will DC United relocate if they don't get a stadium deal done"...

I'm not killing the messenger. I just know how willing I am to invest emotionally myself for some millionaires and it has been long rumoured that Uncle V bought the club rights just to get in on the development deal at Popular. I'm not knocking that, I'm just sayin...

If you are right, just as soon as that card get played, I will beging to seperate myself from the debacle.

This isn't the first time that I have heard these whispers relayed but somehow it seems a bit different this time...

Maybe it is because of the recent, "Hey guys--we WILL need some ca$h out of you guys, after all--Our bad!!!'"

Posted by: yankiboy | March 11, 2009 2:08 PM | Report abuse

croftonpost,

Just so I know exactly how much I should be worried, is your source from the team or county?

Posted by: Josh8 | March 11, 2009 1:52 PM

It wasn't from the county. That's all I will say.

Posted by: croftonpost | March 11, 2009 2:05 PM

Well everyone im gonna make a very hard assumtion here ...... mi guess is that croft got his info from..(drums) THE TEAM!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: ThE-BaRRa-BrAvA-KiD | March 11, 2009 2:08 PM | Report abuse

This isn't the first time that I have heard these whispers relayed but somehow it seems a bit different this time...

Maybe it is because of the recent, "Hey guys--we WILL need some ca$h out of you guys, after all--Our bad!!!'"

Posted by: yankiboy | March 11, 2009 2:08 PM

My point earlier is that I believe many in the soccer community don't realize the seriousness of the situation and need to be informed of it.

Posted by: croftonpost | March 11, 2009 2:12 PM | Report abuse

My point earlier is that I believe many in the soccer community don't realize the seriousness of the situation and need to be informed of it.

Posted by: croftonpost | March 11, 2009 2:12 PM
Bro, I got your point. I got it loud and clear.

I just refuse to go there. If that card is going to be played, I'm pulling the emergency cord and telling the conductor to let me off the freaking train.

I'm just not going there. I will not.

I'm not doubting your intel.

Posted by: yankiboy | March 11, 2009 2:16 PM | Report abuse

I got ten bucks will that help?

Posted by: BarraLoco | March 11, 2009 2:19 PM | Report abuse

Any possibility that we can disrupt the baseball team and share with them?

Posted by: VirginiaFan | March 11, 2009 2:20 PM | Report abuse

croftonpost:

I'm not at all questioning your source. I do, however, want to clarify that my alarm on this came from finding out that the deal structure had changed and that the council was unhappy about it. What you've said here has confirmed what was already on my mind. I hope this doesn't sound dismissive or anything like that.

regularfan:

Houston didn't need a new stadium to get the original Earthquakes. If MLS can find multiple cities willing to step up for expansion teams, I doubt they'll have a problem finding a home for their most successful club.

Posted by: Chest_Rockwell | March 11, 2009 2:22 PM | Report abuse

How much do you think Philadelphia wants to avoid the mess of an expansion draft and new signings?

Posted by: spata1 | March 11, 2009 2:36 PM | Report abuse

yankiboy,

What do you expect DCU to do? They are losing millions of dollars every year. They have been very patient in their stadium search. I don't view it as a threat at all. It is an economic reality which truly sucks.

Posted by: croftonpost | March 11, 2009 2:44 PM | Report abuse

While croftonpost's intel may be legitimate, how many times have existing sports teams pulled the "build or we will leave" stunt? You here it just about any time a sports team wants a new facility and the local government is not 100% behind the deal. While it worries me, part of me thinks it is just a bluff in order to get people serious.

I also know that Misters V and Chang have the money to build the stadium on their own. If it was such a slam dunk money maker, they would not be going to PG County and MD begging for money. The whole thing stinks to high heaven and once again its the fans that will pay.

Maybe I will put a deposit on season tickets in Philly to hedge my bets on a team to root for in two years...

Posted by: therealfootball | March 11, 2009 2:45 PM | Report abuse

The problem with "build it or we will leave" tactics in MLS - is that no one cares (see: Fenty, A.). Especially in this economy. I don't know if that's legit, a ploy or not on the table at all. But I doubt it's a credible threat - like it is in MLB, NBA, NFL, etc. MLS does not have the juice to ask for ransom.

Posted by: Kev29 | March 11, 2009 2:57 PM | Report abuse

What would a guaranteed All-Star and MLS Cup mean to the local economy? Would a commitment from the MLS help?

Posted by: carnack | March 11, 2009 2:59 PM | Report abuse

DCU needs greater control of revnue streams to make a profit

State of MD wants good faith from P.G.County and so wants them to float bonds

P.G. County is concerned about making enough revenue on taxes to pay for bonds

Answer is simple...DCU guarantees income repayment for bonds in exchange for a concession from P.G. - either in preference for development around the stadium, or taxation on stadium generated revenues.

And while DCU may want to re-locate...I doubt very much MLS (remember, the league owns the team) allows DCU to move. The hit the league would take is too much not to look for an alternative solution, perhaps after buying out Chang & McFarlane or giving them an expansion site instead.

I have no doubt SOMEBODY can get a stadium built somewhere within reason.

Posted by: teo_68 | March 11, 2009 2:59 PM | Report abuse

Zzz?

Posted by: B_A_ | March 11, 2009 3:08 PM | Report abuse

People, these are not tactics or threats. DCU simply cannot afford to stay at RFK long term...end of story. This is an economic reality and relocation will happen if there are no stadium alternatives (Garber is for relocation void of a new stadium). They won't commit to RFK beyond the next few years, just get used to the notion.

Posted by: croftonpost | March 11, 2009 3:09 PM | Report abuse

"What do you expect DCU to do?"
Invest $47m of their own money, I guess. If the stadium is a good investment, then it must make sense, right?

If not, then either (a) it doesn't make sense to the owner/investor or (b) the owner/investor thinks Portland/Ottawa/wherever may be more willing to publicly fund it . . . in which case -- hey yankiboy, can you hook me up with some seats for Crystal Palace Baltimore?

Posted by: fallschurch1 | March 11, 2009 3:09 PM | Report abuse

After reading about MacFarland's losses in California, I suspect he isn't as liquid as most of you think. Otherwise, why would his condo be for sale?

Minor league ball, Philly, St Louis, Portland? Truly depressing guys...........

Posted by: croftonpost | March 11, 2009 3:23 PM | Report abuse

DC United doesn't have $47 million lying around. PG County can raise it a lot more easily and, presumably, on much more favorable terms. It would cost DC United much more to secure a loan of equal size, and they may not have enough revenue to pay it. More to the point, if the Stadium Authority/State and or County will own the land and stadium, DC United wouldn't have the collateral it needs to get a loan. So, United would have to pay for and own the whole thing, or the funding for and ownership of the facility would have to be public. So, it's not the $47 million -- it's more like $200 million for United to do this. It's highly unlikely that DC United could buy the land and build the facility, even if they wanted to do that. The money isn't here for them to borrow right now -- and, as I noted above, the State and PG can do this at less cost (lower interest rates).

Posted by: fischy | March 11, 2009 3:29 PM | Report abuse

Well said fischy. Now send e-mails people!

Posted by: croftonpost | March 11, 2009 3:32 PM | Report abuse

hey yankiboy, can you hook me up with some seats for Crystal Palace Baltimore?

Posted by: fallschurch1 | March 11, 2009 3:09 PM
-------------------------------------------
Come on down and see how the have-nots live. Come on to the lower division lovefest. Believe me, we got room for you Bro.

And the best thing--on a good special night, you can still cheer against Red Bull.

Posted by: yankiboy | March 11, 2009 3:54 PM | Report abuse

I just don't think the 3:29 post's logic is going to convince PG folks, nor give us much ammo for our emails. "The team can't raise $47 million because they won't have the revenue to pay it."

Posted by: fallschurch1 | March 11, 2009 4:01 PM | Report abuse

@fallschurch -- Being the author of the now famous "3:29 post", I think you don't get the distinction I'm making. Tax receipts revenue would be going to the Stadium authority. I presume some money would be diverted to PG County to pay off their bonds. But, that revenue stream will be continuous.

If United were to front the full amount, they'd have to generate a lot of revenue early on to pay off a commercial loan. That loan would have to be paid off far more quickly than public financing. And, as I noted, DCU would require greater capital than a public agency to get this done..

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

New religious sign at soccer games:

FISCHY 3:29

For Prince George's County so loved soccer they raised $47M to build a stadium.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | March 11, 2009 9:34 PM | Report abuse

I-270: perfect.

Posted by: oz4dcu | March 11, 2009 11:20 PM | Report abuse

DC United will never move out of the DC area. Way too much history and passion. More a comment on yesterday's news and speculation, but just saying

Posted by: FreddieFreeIoader | March 12, 2009 3:07 AM | Report abuse

Judging by the responses I've received from Maryland legislators I've emailed regarding the stadium plan I'd have to say no chance.

Relocation is only bad for MLS...It was wrong when we left SanHo high and dry. I really hope it doesn't happen to you guys!

Seriously...Good Luck!!

Posted by: REVS_FAN_1 | March 12, 2009 7:52 AM | Report abuse

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