Common sense is taking over in the proposal to move DC United to a new stadium in Prince George's County. Yesterday, a committee of the P.G. County Board unanimously voted AGAINST supporting legislation to have the Maryland Stadium Authority take the first steps toward making the move.
As we've said here before, moving DC United to P.G. County makes no sense. The team's fans are mostly in Northern Virginia, and the only reason United's quasi-owner, Victor McFarlane, wants the move is because he's cut some kind of deal to pair the move with a real estate development to help his struggling property management business. McFarlane is no soccer fan, and why Major League Soccer let this weasel take over its flagship team is beyond us.
Northern Virginians, who have easy access to DC United games at RFK stadium, have been rebelling against the proposed move, letting DC United officials know what they think. This week, the Arlington Soccer Association, which promotes and sells thousands of DC United tickets to families of its youth soccer players, weighed in with a letter opposing the move and predicting that many fewer Arlington families would make the trek out to P.G. County.
P.G. County Board members are wise to view the deal with skepticism. If ticket sales don't materialize, they'll be left holding the bag. Rosy forecasts from team officials need to be tempered by the reaction of fans--the folks who buy the tickets--who aren't at all enthused.
DC United does need a new, soccer-only stadium. But it doesn't necessarily need a real-estate development with the deal. Rather, that's something McFarlane wants, for his own purposes. MLS should find a new owner for DC United--one who cares about soccer--and get McFarlane out of the way. Then the franchise can move forward on a stadium deal at a site convenient to its fans.