Washington D.C. and D.C. United have a unique stadium deal

The MLS franchise D.C. United are looking to build a new stadium to replace their current home, 53-year old RFK Stadium. As a result, the franchise has been negotiating with Washington D.C to get a new stadium built since 2006. Fortunately for United fans, the City and the franchise were able to agree to an…interesting stadium deal, before the end of 2013.

The new stadium will be located at Buzzard Point, a few blocks away from Nationals Park — home of the Washington Nationals. Apparently, the hope is to make the area around the two stadiums into an entertainment district “…in a long-ignored part of Southwest D.C”-Michael Neibauer

The current financing plan for the stadium deal calls for the City to put in $100 million to purchase the land, and $40 million (capped at $50 million) for environmental issues that could crop up at the site. As for the financing of the stadium’s construction, that falls on D.C United in its entirety.

This plan is different because the City isn’t on hook for the construction of the actual arena, and that theoretically puts less of the risk on the public; and more of the risk on the franchise. The problem is, that it is harder for the cities’ to make their money back on this type of deal — a similar financing deal helped build Red Bull Arena, and pushed Harrison, New Jersey’s credit rating off the edge of the financial cliff.

So it will be interesting to see what happens in D.C, because RFK is a stadium that has outlived its usefulness to the City…and the D.C United.

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2 replies »

  1. Interesting…didn’t realize Cities were getting away from financing or helping to finance new stadiums…wonder if this will buck the trend of “bigger and better”.

    • I wouldn’t say they are getting away from financing new stadiums, the cities are just finding creative ways to say that they aren’t actually participating in the stadium construction.