D.C United Stadium Plans Move Forward

What: Audi Field at Buzzard Point will open on July 14, and a stadium deal for an affiliated USL team could follow soon.
Why it matters: The organization is locating these stadiums strategically to increase engagement and spur investment in parts of the DMV area that still have untapped potential.

D.C. Has a New Soccer Home

D.C. United has announced that it will start playing matches at its US$300 million, 20,00 seat new home, Audi Field, on July 14. The Washington D.C. club, one of the original members of Major League Soccer, had been searching for the opportunity to construct a new stadium for over a decade, and that dream will be realized with a state-of-the-art, soccer-specific stadium located at Buzzard Point in the southwest part of the city. Major League Soccer seems to have adjusted D.C United’s match schedule to accommodate for the stadium’s construction, as the club will play only two home matches before Audi Field is ready for action. The opening of the stadium will conveniently, though not intentionally, occur within a few days of the Major League Baseball All-Star Game hosted at Nationals Park.

D.C. United, therefore seems to be leveraging its risk... by utilizing public funds and guaranteeing a substantial revenue stream over the long-term.

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A Shrewd Stadium Strategy

Audi reportedly will be paying $4 million per year for these rights for an estimated 13 years, meaning it is the second most lucrative stadium naming rights deal for an MLS club behind LAFC. Audi Field will be located just down the street from Nationals Park and reinforces the city’s efforts to develop this area through sport. The funding was in large provided by the city for a total of US$150 million, so its constituents will be banking on the team’s promise that it will spur growth and investment in the area. D.C. United, therefore seems to be leveraging its risk in building in a relatively underdeveloped area by utilizing public funds and guaranteeing a substantial revenue stream over the long-term.

This additional project shows that D.C. United wants to continue to expand its brand reach to new areas in the DMV area while also creating an infrastructure that will... lead to increased on-field success.

New Stadium Deals Not Done Yet

In addition, D.C. United plans on building a soccer complex in nearby Loundon County, Virginia in part to host a team in the United States’s second division, USL. In this way, D.C. This project will also be funded in large part publicly by county-issued debt that must be paid off in approximately 20 years. This additional project shows that D.C. United wants to continue to expand its brand reach to new areas in the DMV area while also creating an infrastructure that will allow the organization to attract and develop talent that should lead to increased on-field success.

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David Goldstein @dmgold24

David is from Miami, Florida, where he grew up immersed in a vibrant Hispanic and Latin culture. His professional experiences include coaching Division I soccer and interning for Atlético Nacional S.A. in Medellin, Colombia. He graduated from Princeton University with a degree in Philosophy and is currently enrolled in the Columbia University Sports Management Master's Program.

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