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A Few Minutes With Payne, Butragueño

Highlights from Wednesday's media conference call with D.C. United President Kevin Payne and Real Madrid executive (and former star) Emilio Butragueño, who discussed the Aug. 9 friendly between the clubs at FedEx Field.

Payne: "This will be a very special moment. Throughout our history, we have tried very hard to test ourselves against the best teams from around the world as often as possible. This will be, in many ways, our greatest test."

Butragueño: "The team is going with all of our recent signings [on its North American tour]. Every player is coming on this tour."

Payne: "I appreciate the fact that Real Madrid's approach is to come here and play teams in our league as opposed to other clubs that are coming here for paydays and that's all, and really don't care about the development of the game in the United States." (Me-ow!)

Much more good stuff on the continuation of this thread.....

Butragueño, on why the club decided to visit North America: "It is very important for us to come to the United States because we feel soccer is growing tremendously and is having a great impact on society. ... We know that it is not easy to compete against other traditional sports such as basketball, hockey and American football, but we see the sport is going to grow tremendously and we want to contribute to that growth. It is important for all fans of soccer to be able to see the best players in the world. Those are the reasons we want to penetrate this market -- we see so much potential in the United States with the growth of soccer."

Payne, on what DCU can learn from playing Real: "One of the things we try to stress to our players all the time is the importance of professionalism in everything they do and the importance of focus and concentration -- understanding that, when they are on the field, it's their job to stay focused on every play. Players on Real Madrid understand that very well and they don't take plays off and they don't take games off. That is something that is still part of the growth process at the professional level in our country. The pressures are not quite as great and so some players sometimes have the tendency to take a little time off. Much as has been made of Kaka and Ronaldo and other acquisitions, but I want our players to look at a player like Raul or Casillas and understand how much a part of Real Madrid those players are and how much Real Madrid is a part of them. We have a couple players who are similar in Ben Olsen and Jaime Moreno, but for me, a club should be more than just an employer. In the best of circumstances, it should be part of your life and the players should be part of the club's family. We're trying to build the kinds of traditions on and off the field that clubs like Real Madrid have created for decades. I want our players and fans to look at Real Madrid and say: 'That is what we aspire to.' "

Payne, on the risk to players of playing a friendly in the middle of a busy summer: "If this were not Real Madrid, if this were a mid-table Premiership team or a smaller team from Spain or Italy, I don't think we would be playing the match. But opportunities to play a club like Real Madrid don't come along that often and, while strictly from the standpoint of the competition, it could easily be argued that this is an added game that we don't need. We've always believed that in terms of our long-term strategy and building our brand, these games are invaluable."

Payne, on ticket sales figures and the high prices for upper deck seats ($67.90, which includes service charges, for the cheapest ticket): "I don't have the exact numbers, but I believe ticket sales are around 45,000. We believe there are a lot of people waiting to find out who is coming, frankly, from Real Madrid before they buy. We are very confident that we will have a big crowd in the building. We are looking at the ticket pricing in the upper level, but at this time, we don't see any reason to change it."

By Steve Goff  |  July 22, 2009; 12:31 PM ET
Categories:  D.C. United , Real Madrid  
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Next: Surgery for Khumalo

Comments

Payne: "I appreciate the fact that Real Madrid's approach is to come here and play teams in our league as opposed to other clubs that are coming here for paydays and that's all, and really don't care about the development of the game in the United States."
===============================

Oh, does that mean United no longer has to pay Real $1 million to play an exhibition for 90 minutes? Is a mil more or less than, for example, Milan will make for Friday's game in Baltimore?

Posted by: OWNTF | July 22, 2009 12:40 PM | Report abuse

was hoping for a resignation announcement . . .

Posted by: LCR-54 | July 22, 2009 12:50 PM | Report abuse

$1 million, OWNTF? Huh. I guess that's the spending money RM is giving C. Ronaldo while he's at Pentagon City Mall.

Posted by: joedoc1 | July 22, 2009 12:52 PM | Report abuse

I especially admire Madrid's players for not taking any time off during that Epic Beatdown Barca administered to them at the Bernebeu last season. Professionalism epitomized.

Posted by: EdTheRed | July 22, 2009 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Well played, EdTheRed. I'm tempted to wear a Barça shirt to FedEx, just to stir up some friendly banter.

Posted by: Miles_Standish_Proud | July 22, 2009 1:01 PM | Report abuse

$68!??!?!? That's awful! The cheap seats in Atlanta today are 25.

Posted by: Reignking | July 22, 2009 1:02 PM | Report abuse

I appreciate the sentiments expressed by both executives. I will enjoy the match, as I always do.

But, wow, what a lesson in Executive disingenuous-ness. Don't whiz on my DCUnited shorts and tell me it's raining.

Posted by: JkR- | July 22, 2009 1:02 PM | Report abuse

What JkR said. What a bunch of Kaka. They jacked the prices and moved it to FedEx in the hope of making a profit for DC United. "Growth of soccer" my a$$.

Posted by: OWNTF | July 22, 2009 1:07 PM | Report abuse

Damn, no wonder people aren't buying tickets. I'm gonna pay $40 to see Barca in San Francisco. I'd never pay $68 for a friendly.

Posted by: CACuzcatlan | July 22, 2009 1:08 PM | Report abuse

The friendlies v MLS team are managed by the league and SUM (so MLS sees those ticket sale profits).

The World Football Challenge is not affiliated with the league or SUM, so Payne (rightfully) doesn't appreciate the friendlies that compete with MLS (and do nothing to relate to or support MLS).

But yes, all visitors (it would seem) still get an appearance fee or some sort.

Posted by: tab5g1 | July 22, 2009 1:11 PM | Report abuse

What, no questions about getting owned by Shamrock?

Posted by: Reignking | July 22, 2009 1:14 PM | Report abuse

----
Damn, no wonder people aren't buying tickets. I'm gonna pay $40 to see Barca in San Francisco. I'd never pay $68 for a friendly.

Posted by: CACuzcatlan | July 22, 2009 1:08 PM
----

You might not pay those prices, but apparently some 45K people already have bought tickets to this match, and some/many more might as well. So, I wouldn't say people aren't buying tickets.

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$68!??!?!? That's awful! The cheap seats in Atlanta today are 25.

Posted by: Reignking | July 22, 2009 1:02 PM
----

Yeah, but they don't get to see DC United play.

Posted by: tab5g1 | July 22, 2009 1:15 PM | Report abuse

The friendlies v MLS team are managed by the league and SUM (so MLS sees those ticket sale profits).

=================

That's not the way Goff reported it.

Posted by: OWNTF | July 22, 2009 1:17 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, but they don't get to see DC United play.

Posted by: tab5g1 | July 22, 2009 1:15 PM
-----------

Great point, touche

Posted by: JacobfromAtlanta-ish | July 22, 2009 1:17 PM | Report abuse

But I get to see Team America!

Posted by: Reignking | July 22, 2009 1:18 PM | Report abuse

tab5g1, I should have said people aren't buying tickets in the same numbers that they are for other international friendlies. 80k at the Rose Bowl last night, the Inter derby in Baltimore is sold out (around 70k I believe) and I think the Atlanta game is sold out or close to it.

Posted by: CACuzcatlan | July 22, 2009 1:19 PM | Report abuse

@OWNTF,

"Profit for DC United"

Don't you mean - extra cash to Danny Boy to fund the losses at Six Flags America?

Or perhaps signing bonus(PETA & ASPCA Donation) for Michael Vick?


Posted by: VirginiaBlueBlood | July 22, 2009 1:19 PM | Report abuse

Prediction for tonight

Dos a cero, claro

Posted by: Reignking | July 22, 2009 1:21 PM | Report abuse

especially admire Madrid's players for not taking any time off during that Epic Beatdown Barca administered to them at the Bernebeu last season. Professionalism epitomized.
-----------------------------------

Or during the beat down at Anfield last year

Posted by: Liverbird | July 22, 2009 1:23 PM | Report abuse

What are the chances youre listening to Chuck and Chernoff, RK?

Posted by: JacobfromAtlanta-ish | July 22, 2009 1:24 PM | Report abuse

The cheapest seats for Chelsea FC vs Club America this weekend at the new Cowboys Stadium are about $39 with fees ($30++).

Posted by: UnitedFanInTX | July 22, 2009 2:05 PM | Report abuse

KP is dead wrong on this one. I am a season ticket holder for both the Redskins and United to include upper deck seats for the Redskins. I haven't bought tickets to Real Madrid because I believe the asking price is way too high for the game. If they lower the cost then I will likely attend the game.

Posted by: blackandred777 | July 22, 2009 2:06 PM | Report abuse

I agree. I am not a planholder of either team but I frequently attend both teams games as well and I believe the tickets are way overpriced for Real madrid.

Posted by: Gambrills4 | July 22, 2009 2:14 PM | Report abuse

----
I should have said people aren't buying tickets in the same numbers that they are for other international friendlies. 80k at the Rose Bowl last night, the Inter derby in Baltimore is sold out (around 70k I believe) and I think the Atlanta game is sold out or close to it.

Posted by: CACuzcatlan | July 22, 2009 1:19 PM
----

Fair point, but there certainly are other differences besides ticket-price points. Those WFC matches feature two (2) traveling glamor teams, visiting markets relatively desperate and eager to see club friendlies. The RM at DC match features a home team (that gets in plenty of matches each year in this market) and only one (1) traveling glamor team.

I'm not shocked by the 45K lagging behind what the WFC has been averaging. still, it looks like overall good business for MLS, and Payne doesn't show any indication (yet) of them changing their mind on the price points.


----
That's not the way Goff reported it.

Posted by: OWNTF | July 22, 2009 1:17 PM
----

Where's the reporting in this blog entry? To me it just looks like a relatively straight listing of quotes from a press conference.

Here are Kevin Payne's comments:

"I appreciate the fact that Real Madrid's approach is to come here and play teams in our league as opposed to other clubs that are coming here for paydays and that's all, and really don't care about the development of the game in the United States."

All Goff did on that bit was to add the blog-worthy comment of "(Me-ow!)"

The reader kinda has to fill in the spaces and recognize and appreciate the differences between the WFC and what MLS/SUM are doing with their summer friendlies. (Maybe we'll get more info/reporting in a fuller print version of this story around the time of the Aug 9th match.)

Posted by: tab5g1 | July 22, 2009 2:20 PM | Report abuse

Join Barra Brava and you get better seats for much cheaper.

Posted by: AtlantaMLS | July 22, 2009 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Last I heard, the Dome was expected 60,000 and maybe more depending on walkups.

Not quite a sellout (72-74 capacity), but not bad.

Posted by: JacobfromAtlanta-ish | July 22, 2009 3:03 PM | Report abuse

What are the chances youre listening to Chuck and Chernoff, RK?

Posted by: JacobfromAtlanta-ish

No radio in here. Positive soccer coverage, maybe?

Posted by: Reignking | July 22, 2009 3:05 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: OWNTF | July 22, 2009 3:13 PM | Report abuse

Real hasn't been the same since they cut Jamie Watson.

Posted by: Joel_M_Lane | July 22, 2009 3:28 PM | Report abuse

Uhh, they were talking up the game, and Chuck knew some of the players. It started as a warning about traffic, but they spent 60 seconds actually talking about the game.

Posted by: JacobfromAtlanta-ish | July 22, 2009 3:28 PM | Report abuse

------
The friendlies v MLS team are managed by the league and SUM (so MLS sees those ticket sale profits).

=================

That's not the way Goff reported it.

-------


http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/05/28/AR2009052803707.html

Posted by: OWNTF | July 22, 2009 3:13 PM
-------

I'm not sure what in that link disagrees with my initial point. "MLS" (to be read as DC United as they are part of MLS and the single-entity business) gets the benefit of hosting Real Madrid. And the same broader point applies to other MLS teams that are hosting Braca, and Chelsea, and AC Milan in some friendlies this year.

The WFC is unrelated to doesn't directly and financially help MLS/SUM's business in 2009 -- and in fact it offers strong competition, so that is apparently the reason for Payne's comments.

Posted by: tab5g1 | July 22, 2009 3:50 PM | Report abuse

----
Real hasn't been the same since they cut Jamie Watson.

Posted by: Joel_M_Lane | July 22, 2009 3:28 PM
----

well-played.

Posted by: tab5g1 | July 22, 2009 3:51 PM | Report abuse

makes having season tickets, that much more valuable, i am getting tickets for $50 and on the lower level

$69 on the upper level are for the people who never come out to games, if you are a season ticket holder or at least come to most games you should know who to contact so you don't have to pay $69 for upper level seats, unless of course you wait until gameday.

Besides Barca may be great but
Real has 2/3 best players in the world where barca only has one, that should count for something

Posted by: Norteno4life | July 22, 2009 3:53 PM | Report abuse

well if dc united doesn't even get whatever profit there may be then the game and the price-gouging are even more stupider

Posted by: OWNTF | July 22, 2009 4:00 PM | Report abuse

DC United does get some financial benefit (likely significant) for hosting this game.

Of course, the more seats the sell, the greater the benefit to them. (Hence the decision not to play at RFK, that and the luxury boxes and other amenities.)

There's a fine balance, I'm guessing, between setting a price point that will/could return the maximum revenue from ticket sales. Payne seems content with how they're handling the ticketing for this game.

Posted by: tab5g1 | July 22, 2009 4:32 PM | Report abuse

Butragueño, on why the club decided to visit North America: "To sell shirts."

Payne, on the risk to players of playing a friendly in the middle of a busy summer: "If this were not Real Madrid, if this were a mid-table Premiership team or a smaller team from Spain or Italy, I don't think we would be playing the match. But opportunities to rake in a large sum of cash, well, we could not pass that up."

While the World Football Challenge is under the control of a different entity, the teams taking part have also played friendlies against MLS sides.

Posted by: Verrazzano | July 22, 2009 5:08 PM | Report abuse

wow! Why doesn't DCU promote this game? I'm sure a few hermits haven't heard about it yet.

Posted by: J_S_F | July 22, 2009 5:31 PM | Report abuse

makes having season tickets, that much more valuable, i am getting tickets for $50 and on the lower level

$69 on the upper level are for the people who never come out to games, if you are a season ticket holder or at least come to most games you should know who to contact so you don't have to pay $69 for upper level seats, unless of course you wait until gameday.

Besides Barca may be great but
Real has 2/3 best players in the world where barca only has one, that should count for something

Posted by: Norteno4life | July 22, 2009 3:53 PM | Report abuse

I have United season tickets and I know who to contact (he sends me e-mails constantly). I think $50.00 per seat is just too much for one game. I also have Redskin season tickets but my entire family doesn't attend Skins games so the higher cost is easier to swallow. My entire family always attends United games making this game too cost prohibitive for me.

Posted by: blackandred777 | July 22, 2009 6:22 PM | Report abuse

QUOTE: Butragueño: "...We know that it is not easy to compete against other traditional sports such as basketball, hockey and American football..."
---------------
I LOVE that he left Baseball off the list. :)

Posted by: DCU4LIFE | July 23, 2009 10:09 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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