DC United owners pen open letter to fans over new stadium plans
D.C. United owners Victor MacFarlane and Will Chang have written an open letter to explain to fans why they feel the team needs a soccer specific stadium. With options limited near their current location at RFK the ownership explains what options are available to them at three specific sites.
The full letter that appeared on the team's official website is available below.
Dear D.C. United Fans,
As the team prepares for its season opening match at the Los Angeles Galaxy on March 22 and our home opener against the Chicago Fire on March 28, we want to update you on what has been a busy offseason for the club. The last time we wrote, we promised major changes -- both on and off the field -- and we are excited with the transformations that have taken place in just a few short months.
On February 16, together with a Prince George's delegation led by chairs Sen. Anthony Muse and Del. Melony Griffith, as well as County Executive Jack Johnson and Council Chair Marilyn Bland, we announced the introduction of legislation authorizing a new stadium for D.C. United in Prince George's County, Md. As you know, D.C. United has pursued a stadium of its own for years and we were humbled by the positive reception we received in the County and the State of Maryland.
Many people have asked, "why leave Washington, D.C.?" or "why does the team need its own stadium?" RFK has been a wonderful home for D.C. United and its fans over the years, but the simple economics of not controlling the revenue prevent the club from growing financially. By controlling the revenue from operations of our own stadium, we will best serve the needs of the team, our fans and our community. Moreover, we were thrilled to see in our recent survey that 83% of our fans already plan to travel to Prince George's County.
The club is now considering three stadium sites - all at or near Metro stops - and will be working with County leaders and the community to select the best location possible. We aim to break ground on the stadium in 2009 and complete work in time for the beginning of the 2012 season.
For a more detailed report on our proposal, we encourage you to visit our FAQ page. House Bill 1282 and its companion Senate Bill 1020 have been introduced in the Maryland state legislature for the new stadium, and we encourage you to write your state legislators and share your support for DC United's next home, not to mention a home we plan to be "green" and LEED certified.
The stadium in Prince George's County is the future, and as fans, we know you are energized for a new season that starts in just a few weeks. As we mentioned, RFK continues to be an excellent home to D.C. United and one of the most feared venues for visiting teams in MLS. We have taken steps to improve the match day experience at RFK this year and you will see several changes at the stadium beginning with the first match against Chicago. Be sure to come out and support the team and make the home opener a raucous night. You should also be looking forward to the launch of a new and improved digital platform prior to the season. Through this, we'll provide more information, access and opportunities to United's great fans than ever before.
On the field, we had a successful SuperDraft in January, and our General Manager Dave Kasper and the coaching staff are quite pleased with the young players we've assembled on the roster. Additionally, the guys in the locker room are enthused to welcome back our #10, Christian Gomez. We believe we have a deep team to start the season - and not to mention a younger team -- but will not rule out adding a player or two if he is a good fit for the club.
We are more than ever committed to our community-based organizations, including United Reads, Kicks for Kids and United Soccer Club, and you will see a greater presence with those groups and the players directly in Prince George's County. The club will relocate headquarters, operations, programs and staff to Prince George's County, and we intend to be an integral member of the community. For more information on our community programs and initiatives, you can visit our Community page.
D.C. United's mission will always be to win championships and serve the community. We intend to pursue both with vigor this year and expect it to pay dividends both on and off the field.
Victor MacFarlane and Will Chang
Co-Executive Chairmen and CEO