Soccer Business Bits: Stadium News in DC, Playoff Broadcasts and Revs Make a Change

unitedSome quick hits from around American soccer, starting with DC United, where efforts are ongoing to find a permanent home for the team.  We have previously written about efforts to build in various parts of Virginia, DC proper or Maryland.  Now, Steve Goff is reporting that DCU is now in talks with another Virginia municipality about a possible stadium.  According to Goff’s article, United is not  yet ready to reveal its new potential partner.

Despite these efforts, we continue to believe that RFK (whether a new stadium or a renovation), is the best option.  The stadium is located directly on the Metro, within the district and reachable by fans both in VA and MD.  We will continue to monitor this situation.

ESPN2 will broadcast two matches from the first round of the MLS playoffs, including a primetime match in Seattle on Thursday, which will certainly show well on televsion.  That theme will continue on Sunday when ESPN2 will show the first leg of the LA playoff Derby, which seems a certainty to sell out.   In the second leg, ESPN2 will put the Columbus/RSL match on in prime time on Thursday and follow with the return leg in Los Angeles on Sunday.   FSC will get both legs of the Revs/Chicago and Telefutura will get the return leg from Houston.

Speaking of the Revs/Chicago, New England made the interesting choice to change their home date against Chicago from Saturday to Sunday.  There are many possible motivations for this move, but from a business standpoint, it makes perfect sense.  The prior late afternoon start on Halloween was guaranteed to limit attendance by precluding both families and adults with kids from attending.  Given the Revs typical difficulty in drawing for playoff games, any effort that can bring fans to the game is worth pursuing.

Soccer Business Bits: Back to B-More, RSL Friendly and More

unitedWe are back on our regular schedule now and thought we would start with a quick look to one of the big business stories of the week.  After getting rebuffed by PG County and desperate to leave RFK, DC United is still considering a permanent move to Baltimore.  According to the story from the Washington Business Journal, Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon has written to the Maryland Stadium Authority asking them to research a possible stadium project for United.  According to the story, the inquiry was made without consultation with DC United.

This is not the first time United has explored a stadium in Maryland.  Those prior efforts died After an 8-0 vote by the Prince George’s City Council refusing to support funding for a study of a potential stadium in Maryland.  United was then in the unenviable position of having thumbed its nose at the District of Columbia while being left at the alter (or perhaps engagement party) by the State of Maryland.  Now United may have another opportunity to build in the State.

There are many benefits to MLS teams playing mid-season friendlies: exposure, revenue and more.  That said, RSL’s decision to play Chivas in mid-October seems a bit contrary to their efforts to make the playoffs for the second consecutive  season.   With RSL needing points, it seems someone counter productive to exhaust their players with three games left to play.  Nevertheless, with a lenghty break between games, RSL probably needs the matches to stay fit for the run to the playoffs.  However, it is interesting that this match will likely draw about the same amount of fans as a typical MLS match at Rio Tinto.

Finally, the Globe & Mail is reporting that Vancouver will go forward with plans to build a retractable roof on BC Place.  The open air stadium is a requirement of the MLS franchise and moving forward should continue to make the transition for the Whitecaps smooth in 2011.