This has been coming for some time now, but it’s official and we’re not surprised. Victor MacFarlane, building developer/player, sold his shares of D.C. United to his long time partner, Will.i.am Chang. Mr. Chang is also a partial owner of the Baseball San Francisco Giants. What does this mean for footy in DC?
I’ve always figured Victor MacFarlane to be a mini-me developer type in the mold of Phillip Anschutz, whom he purchased the team from. The plan is simple: buy a second tier sports team; measure the mark (local community); use the local goodwill of the sports team, combined with the ‘economic benefit’ (as defined by your own research) to tout a public-private stadium deal; then use it as your 21st century “anchor tenant” for your mixed-use property development. That’s the money maker, and I bet if we could do the math, we would see that on a long haul. Having an anchor tenant makes it all that much solid. Sports teams are the new development anchor tenants (until the Wal-Mart competitive sports league is formed in 2023).
Mr. MacFarlane seemed to wear out his welcome, with his shifting of stadium sites, and his whining for the “same deal” the Nationals received with the Poplar Point project in DC. He should of argued that the Nationals suck and soccer could be successful faster, but he didn’t.
Mr. Chang seems more committed to the team than MacFarlane, but has largely remained in the shadows. He’s going to have to come out of the shadows, and in an interview with The Washington Post, he talks about the team staying, somewhat:
“I’m not looking for a big real estate deal as part of a stadium project. I’m looking for a bread-and-butter stadium [without ancillary elements]. I’m not looking for a Poplar Point project [with mixed-use development]. I am just looking for a home for this team. I want to go to a place that wants a stadium and wants us.”
Not very enticing, but at the same time, he also said Team President Kevin Payne ran point. However, all employees take their marching orders from their boss, and Kevin has a new boss now. Tell us what you want to do Mr. Chang, and I bet you could get a decent collection of government officials to sign up. He should try a few things. He should realize that the three local governments (four if you count uncle sam) will be hard pressed to agree on anything, especially if money is involved, and they may want some of it.
Then we top off the DC United stories with a rumour that the friendly between DC United and Real Madrid, is scheduled for August 9th. Tickets supposedly to go on sale Tuesday, May 26th. Right when I’m not in town!