D.C. United President Kevin Payne spoke this morning on WTOP to discuss a number of soccer-related topics, including plans for a new stadium in Prince George’s County.
Payne said he remained optimistic about stadium plans despite a unanimous vote against stadium legislation by a committee of the Prince George’s County Council Tuesday.
“It’s not necessarily a roadblock,” he said. “We think there was confusion about what people were voting on. We expect that to be clarified and we are certainly hopeful of a different outcome when the full council actually votes to take a position on the legislation.”
Some of the confusion, according to Payne, stems from recent amendments to the bill that will ultimately be voted on by the Maryland General Assembly. The original bill included specific language calling for the Maryland Stadium Authority to sell $178 million worth of bonds to help finance the stadium. The bill was amended in the last week to take out any reference to bonds, instead only authorizing the stadium authority to begin discussions about a stadium plan with the team.
“We believe they will ultimately be in favor of the bill as amended,” Payne said.
A couple other tidbits:
- Payne said the team will have a new concession provider, Sodexo, when the team begins play at RFK Stadium on Saturday. United and the D.C. Sports and Entertainment Commission fired Ovations due to poor performance last year.
-Payne said he was encouraged by the number of planned events at MLS stadiums around the league, including Pizza Hut Park in Dallas, Home Depot Center in Los Angeles and Toyota Park in suburban Chicago. Each venue has more than 50 events scheduled so far this year.
- Tim Lemke