Washington Spirit in talks to play at Audi Field, test demand for women’s soccer in D.C.

kelseywys spirit - Washington Spirit in talks to play at Audi Field, test demand for women’s soccer in D.C.
Spirit goalkeeper Kelsey Wys. (Tony Quinn/ISI Photos)

The Washington Spirit is in superior talks with D.C. United about taking part in a National Women’s Soccer League match this summer time at United’s new stadium, testing the waters for presumably a number of video games at Audi Field in coming seasons.

Tom Hunt, United’s president of enterprise operations, confirmed the discussions Friday, saying: “We plan to program a variety of events, including women’s soccer. To that end, we are engaged in discussions with the Spirit on a match in late August.”

Spirit President Chris Hummer mentioned, “We’ve come to terms, but it’s up to the scheduling whether we can pull it off.”

Neither specified a date, however the one weekend in which each United and the Washington Nationals, who play two blocks away, are out of city is Aug. 25-26. Because of parking and logistical points, United is attempting to keep away from scheduling occasions on the identical day as baseball video games.

The NWSL has but to announce the 2018 schedule. The season will kick off in late March.

The Spirit, which is coming into its sixth season, is predicated at Maryland SoccerPlex in higher Montgomery County, 35 miles from downtown Washington. The distance and lack of public transportation to the 5,200-seat advanced in Boyds dissuade many potential ticket patrons from attending matches, Hummer mentioned. Annual common attendance has ranged from three,300 to four,100. The league common final yr was 5,083, a determine skewed by the runaway leaders, the Portland Thorns, at 17,653.

“We believe there’s large fan support in the city,” Hummer mentioned. “People try to come but lament the distance. We want to give [Audi Field] a shot and see what demand is like. It could be a great opportunity to play a few games there every year.”

The Spirit would have to pay an undisclosed determine to use the 20,0000-capacity stadium, which United is constructing for greater than $300 million as a part of a public-private partnership with the town. It will open in mid-July and change RFK Stadium as United’s house.

If profitable, taking part in at Audi Field might have a domino impact for the Spirit: Additional matches in the hub of the metro space and in entrance of larger crowds would appeal to extra sponsors and, from a enterprise standpoint, assist the Spirit maintain tempo with front-running Portland and others.

More soccer protection:

Want to catch a United ‘home’ sport earlier than Audi Field opens? Here’s what you want to know.

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