While the process for a new D.C. United stadium in Buzzard Point continues to move along, the facility is not expected to open until June 2018.
As is currently projected, ground would be broken on the site for the stadium within the first two months of 2017, kicking off a construction process that could take up to 16 months. Some plans had stated that the United would spend the entire 2018 season at the new stadium, but the project must go through a few steps–including a November zoning hearing–until work can begin.
Though it is something of a setback, the good news for the United is that the team’s search for a new stadium is likely to come to a successful conclusion. However, the team and the MLS will now be faced with the logistical challenge of scheduling the United’s games until the stadium is open.
Even though RFK Stadium, the team’s current home, will still be standing by this point, the United do not sound inclined to return to the facility for a handful of home games. That would mean playing matches on the road, which the team and MLS will have to work out within the parameters of the 2018 schedule. More from the Washington Post:
United officials have no plans to play any games after next season at city-operated RFK, where team investors have burned through cash since the team’s inception in 1996. In essence, United would accept an uneven schedule in order to play the entire 2018 home slate at Buzzard Point. The new stadium will provide greater revenue streams and a better game-day experience than shabby RFK, which opened 55 years ago Saturday with a Redskins-Giants game.
Had the new stadium opened June 1 this year, United would’ve had to start the season with 13 consecutive road games. (Overall, MLS teams play 17 away matches.)
Even if MLS were to lighten the early-season load, United would still probably face a 10-game away stretch. And 2018 is a World Cup year, which means the league will pause for a few weeks in June, constricting the available dates on the league calendar.
Over the weekend, the District of Columbia turned over the land that will be used for the stadium project.
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