DC United Renew RFK Lease Through '13, Will Limit Seating To Lower Level
MLS DC United has signed a two-year lease extension with RFK Stadium, and the team will “limit seating to the lower bowl and mezzanine level and attempt to sell sponsorships on tarps covering the upper-deck seating areas,” according to Steven Goff of the WASHINGTON POST. United President & CEO Kevin Payne said, “It’s a great branding opportunity, but it’s more important that our supporters become accustomed to a 20,000-seat stadium, and we expect that limiting the capacity will encourage an increase in season ticket sales.” The team and stadium operator Events DC are “seeking to sell naming rights to the playing surface.” Payne: “I wouldn’t necessarily say we are close (to signing sponsorships), but we are talking to some people.” Goff notes in previous MLS games at the stadium, the upper deck was “rarely utilized.” RFK’s new MLS capacity is 19,647. United averaged 15,196 fans last year and “drew 16,314 for last Saturday’s season opener.” The team hopes that limiting the capacity will “create demand and encourage fans to secure seats in advance.” Meanwhile, Events DC announced it would “improve lighting on the concourse and renovate restrooms” at the 51-year-old stadium. The improvements are “part of a ‘multimillion dollar’ plan” to upgrade RFK and the adjacent DC Armory. A facilities fee of $2.25 is “being applied to tickets purchased for United matches” to pay for the upgrades (WASHINGTON POST, 3/16).