Washington DC has shown no interest in keeping DC United. Prince George County has shown no interest in bringing in DC United. It looks as if Baltimore is showing some interest in becoming the new home of DC United.
The Maryland Stadium Authority approved a $100,000 feasibility study. The study will “consider a 42-acre waterfront Westport project as a potential site for a soccer complex that could hold between 17,000 and 20,000 people and be used to attract D.C. United into making Baltimore its permanent home.” (Baltimore Sun)
I know DC United well. I understand Baltimore sports. I’m not a Baltimore or Maryland taxpayer, so I have no stake in that.
As a fan of the team and lover of the city, I still can’t get my head around this one. I can’t see DC United moving to Baltimore and being able to keep its fan base. DC United has amazing fan base. The crowds obviously fluctuate based on when the games happen, but I think it is safe to say that on weekend games you can expect around 20,000 people to show up. The breakdown of those fans seems to be split evenly between DC, VA, and MD residents.
If Baltimore were to somehow get the team to move, I think the fan base would completely readjust. I think the people in Maryland would still come to the games. I think a significantly smaller percentage of DC and VA residents would still support the team. The problem is that I don’t think there is anyone else to pick up the slack. It’s not going to come from the inner city. Soccer seems to have little appeal there. It’s not going to come from York, PA or Delaware. Philadelphia is getting its own MLS team this year. The only place is from the people in the surrounding counties, and there waning attendance at Camden Yards can’t be something to find encouraging.
If the MLS follows through with its threat to move DC United if no one can provide a stadium for them, I would be ecstatic to see it in Charm City. It’s much better than seeing them head to St. Louis or Miami. I just need to be convinced that Baltimore could sustain them.
Could you get behind a MLS team in Baltimore?