Major League Soccer franchise D.C. United will be forced to play a handful of home matches at an alternate venue while work continues on its new Audi Field stadium, according to the Washington Post newspaper.
D.C. United broke ground on the new 20,000-seat stadium in February and it is due to open in June 2018, almost four months after the start of the MLS season.
The Post notes that the club had intended on playing a series of away matches at the start of the season while work on Audi Field continues, before playing the majority of its home matches in the second half of the season.
However, the newspaper has reported that the league has concerns about D.C. United gaining an unfair advantage later in the year by playing so many games at home. As a result, the club is seeking an alternate venue, or venues, to play its first few home matches of the season.
The Post said that venues are being considered in Annapolis, Baltimore and Richmond. The newspaper, citing sources, said that an alternate venue will most likely be needed for three games.
The 34,000-seat Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium near Washington and the 22,000-capacity City Stadium in Richmond are two possible sites, according to the Post.
United spokeswoman Lindsay Simpson told the Post that season ticket holders that did not want to attend ‘home’ matches at alternate venues would not be charged. “We’re committed to remaining fan-focused throughout the transition leading to Audi Field,” she said. “We won’t know the schedule until probably early January. When we have more information, we’ll share it with our fans.”
German automotive manufacturer Audi acquired rights for United’s new stadium back in February in a 12-year deal. Audi’s four-ring logo will adorn the roofs of the east and west stands as part of the agreement.