D.C. United, is staying in the nation’s capital and getting a new stadium in 2017. The franchise was approved for a $300 million public-private partnership with the District to construct a 20,000 person stadium at Buzzards Point, which is about a mile from the National Mall and the Capital. Mayor Vincent C. Gray stated that the project could create $1.6 billion in “economic opportunities,” 1,000 full time jobs, and about $65 million in “other benefits.” The owners are looking holding other events at the stadium, like concerts, college football games, and lacrosse games because there are only 20 MLS home games. Over the team’s 30-year lease, estimates have the the District profitting $80 million off its $120 million investment. This area, which is now considered an industrial wasteland, could become a grand D.C. landmark since it is a 10 minute walk from the National’s stadium and would attract other businesses and housing.
A new stadium provides D.C. United with an opportunity to enter the international marketplace. Revenue from naming rights, corporate suits, and concessions would boost their transfer budget. A new stadium and superstars would broaden the teams audience and increase the demand for tickets. D.C. United managing general partner, Jason Levien said,
“There is going to be an opportunity for us to do more, certainly…We are an ownership group that is committed to investing in a team to be successful.”
Critics, such as Council Chair Phil Mendelson, believe construction could cost tax payers $230 million, which is far above the cities cap of $150 million. Also, Sports economist Victor Matheson has found there is not a net-positive effect for stadiums in urban environments because they just replace a stadium in another part of the city. Despite these concerns, Buzzard Point has the potential to be a new D.C. landmark and jumpstart development in the area. Furthermore, these revenue generating investments by D.C. United will cause the team to grow, which will in turn allow the MLS to grow.