Behind the MLS Ambition Rankings: D.C. United

Friday March 3rd, 2017

How much money has your team spent in the past five years on youth development? How much in the past year?

Approximately $6 million over five years. Approximately $1.5 million spent in 2016.

How many homegrown players have you signed? How many have played in MLS league games for your first team?

D.C. United have signed nine homegrown players, including: Bill Hamid; Andy Najar; Jalen Robinson; U-17 U.S. national team captain Chris Durkin; and 2016 Hermann Trophy winner (and son of United legend, John Harkes), Ian Harkes. The club's newest homegrown signings, Durkin and Harkes, look to make their MLS debuts in 2017. All of club's homegrowns, with the exception of Harkes and Durkin, who just joined the team in the offseason, have seen minutes with the first team.

Where does your first team train? Did you build the training facility yourself? If so, how much did it cost?

With a world-class stadium set to open in 2018, United are focused on locating a permanent training facility. The club is in discussions with various locations in the D.C. area to develop a state-of-the-art training facility and plan to finalize those plans in the coming months.

Did your team build its own stadium? If yes, how much money did the team spend on the stadium?

D.C. United broke ground on Audi Field on Feb. 27, 2017, which will have a total investment of a half a billion dollars. Opening in 2018, it will also host a variety of other sporting and cultural events, community activities, and concerts. The state-of-the-art urban facility has a capacity of 20,000 fans and will feature 31 luxury suites, a bike valet, and 500,000 total square feet of mixed-use retail and residential space on site, making it a 365-day destination for fans and D.C. residents alike.

How much money have you spent in the three previous years on Designated Players (transfer fees and salary)? How much are you spending on Designated Players this year?

United secured long-term contracts for some of their biggest contributors in 2016–Steve Birnbaum, Patrick Mullins and Luciano Acosta. Acosta was purchased from Boca Juniors at the end of 2016, with the highest transfer fee paid in club history.

How much TAM have you spent since its inception in the middle of 2015 (including this year)? 

We have spent 90% of available TAM since it's inception.

How would you describe your investment in and use of data analytics? How many full-time analytics employees do you have?

Understanding and using data analytics is a priority for United–to maximize our players' output, identify new talent and scout opposing teams. During the 2016 season, United hired a Director of Soccer Strategy and Analytics and are continuing to invest in the use of data analytics in 2017. We have hired a second data analyst to support in areas of player recruitment and match preparation.

Who is your jersey sponsor? What’s your total income on sponsorships this season?

Leidos; Income information is confidential.

Local TV deal: How many of your games this season are shown on local television? How much is your local TV deal worth per season? How big is your budget for presenting local TV broadcasts? Do your broadcasters travel on the road for local TV broadcasts?

D.C. United began broadcasting local matches in house, in partnership with Sinclair Broadcasting Group, in 2016. This agreement allows for three hours of game programming for every match, with half hour pre- and post-game coverage with each game. Games air regionally on over-the-air and basic cable channels, significantly increasing the number of households in the District of Columbia market who receive these broadcasts. In 2017, 31 non-nationally televised games will air on local television within the District of Columbia region. D.C. United will produce away games on location and broadcasters will travel to all matches in 2017.

What other sorts of details should we know about your club that are a good barometer of the club’s ambition? 

After 21 years in RFK Stadium, D.C. United have broken ground on a state-of-the-art facility in the heart of the nation’s capital. Securing a long-term stadium naming rights agreement with local partner, Audi of America was a significant step for the Black-and-Red, as they look to return the District of Columbia to the forefront of soccer in the U.S. United are committed to giving soccer fans a first-class experience, both on and off the field. 

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