September 23, 2008
Contact: Gary McGuigan, Project Executive
Maryland Stadium Authority
Contact: John Erzen
Prince George’s County Press Information Officer
(301) 952-2657 or (240) 508-4491
The Maryland Stadium Authority has released the market and economic study to determine the benefits of locating a soccer stadium for DC United in Prince George’s County.
The study was commissioned at the request of Prince George’s County after the team approached them about the possibility of relocating there. DC United has used RFK Stadium, constructed in 1961 to accommodate professional baseball and football, since its inception in 1996. DC United, at the urging of Major League Soccer, is determined to develop a new soccer-specific stadium consistent with standards established by other teams in the league. The $75,000 study, conducted by Crossroads Consulting Services, was authorized by the Maryland General Assembly to determine the extent that Prince George’s County and the State of Maryland would benefit from locating the team there. The study is not site-specific.
The study determined that soccer is an evolving sport, boosted in recent years by television contracts, major sponsorships, and investment in soccer-specific stadiums around the country that have hosted international events. Factors cited for the success of a soccer-specific facility in Prince George’s county include the existing loyal fan base, the ethnic diversity and other demographic characteristics present in successful franchise bases, and access via mass transit and highways. These are some of the same factors that make Prince George’s County attractive for other uses of the facility, such as concerts and festivals.
A possible concern expressed after an analysis of other facilities is that a new stadium could compete against existing Maryland venues for events, sponsors, and suite leases.
Other attractions in the area, such as Six Flags and the new National Harbor, plus proximity to airports and hotel availability, would make a stadium in Prince George’s County a contender for hosting national and international tournaments. The size and layout of such a stadium would also be compatible for lacrosse, which enjoys great popularity in the Mid-Atlantic region.
The study based its findings on construction of a professional soccer-oriented facility that would also be able to accommodate regional tournaments, community activities, and large scale entertainment events when not being used for professional soccer. The presence of the stadium as a home base for a professional team would likely grow the State’s significant youth soccer programs, the study suggests.
Considering these and other factors, and assuming a 24,000 - 27,000 size, this soccer-specific stadium could expect to stage between 54-63 events annually, including the 15 homes games for DC United. Cumulative annual attendance for all activities is estimated between 680,000 - 841,000.
Job creation is another factor evaluated in the study. Based on the number and size of events, the study calculates total employment to be between 1,080 and 1,320 FTE jobs.
Total earnings related to stadium operations range from approximately $25.2 million to $30.8 million.
Incremental annual tax revenues from stadium operation range from $1.8 million to $2.2 million for Prince George’s County and $3.2 million and $3.9 million for the State of Maryland.
The study examines other regions in the country where major league soccer stadiums have been built and determined their success were determined by access to public transportation and sufficient area to accommodate ancillary mixed use development.
The study concludes that partnering with DC United on a soccer specific stadium would give Prince George’s County the ability to attract new events to Maryland on the collegiate, national and international levels. It would capitalize on the popularity and corporate support of one the MLS’ most successful franchises, which has a commitment to supporting youth soccer programs near their home.
If Prince George’s County decides to proceed with the project, the next steps are to reach an agreement with the team for a lease and financial interest in the project, and designate a specific site for the facility.
“We are pleased to furnish Prince George’s County with this comprehensive market and economic study,” said Frederick W. Puddester, Chairman of the Maryland Stadium Authority. “These findings will help them make an informed decision about whether or not to move ahead in their negotiations with DC United to relocate the franchise to Maryland.”
“I would like to thank the General Assembly and the Stadium Authority for their respective roles in moving the process forward,” said Prince George’s County Executive Jack Johnson. “Being the home of a Major League Soccer team can create great economic opportunities for Prince George’s County.”
A copy of the study is posted on the Stadium Authority’s website at: