DC United "Very Hopeful" Of Landing New Stadium; Orlando Club Has New Investor
MLS DC United Managing Partner Jason Levien said team execs are "very hopeful" of striking a deal to build a soccer-specific stadium in the city to end the club's decade-long search for a new home, according to Steven Goff of the WASHINGTON POST. Levien said, "The stars are aligning in a good way for us. We’re working closely with the right people and we feel better about it today than we did three months ago, no question." Levien "declined to go into detail about negotiations or provide a timetable for a possible agreement." DC United has "targeted Buzzard Point -- a largely undeveloped area near Nationals Park in Southwest -- for a complex that would accommodate between 20,000 and 24,000 spectators." DC United would "finance the project but require help from the city to cover infrastructure and land acquisition costs." Levien added, "We're pushing the right buttons and making things happen in a good way." He said that the club has "ruled out moving to Baltimore." Levien also has enlisted team counsel David Mincberg "to help push the stadium project" (WASHINGTONPOST.com, 2/16). Meanwhile, Levien said of the club's TV opportunities, "We want to expand our presence, we want it to be more robust. We’re talking to Comcast SportsNet (United's longtime regional partner for game coverage), but others in the media field who want to be involved as well. We want to maximize the opportunity -- more content outside the games, a coach’s show, behind the scenes in the locker room and practice field" (WASHINGTONPOST.com, 2/15).
MAGIC KINGDOM: In Orlando, Schlueb & Damron report Brazilian entrepreneur Flávio Augusto da Silva on Friday "became a major investor" in USL Pro club Orlando City, "bringing an influx of cash that makes it much more likely that Orlando will land a Major League Soccer franchise -- and that taxpayers will help foot the bill for a new soccer stadium." Orlando City Owner & President Phil Rawlins confirmed that da Silva "will eventually be its primary owner." Negotiations also are "under way" between team execs and officials from Orlando and Orange County to build a $105M stadium. Taxpayers would "pay most of the tab for the 18,000-seat facility." MLS plans to "expand in the next few years and is eyeing the Southeast, where it has no teams." Commissioner Don Garber has "all but promised Orlando City Soccer Club a franchise, but a smaller stadium designed specifically for soccer is a prerequisite for admission" (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 2/18).