Hey, just saw this on OurSportsCentral forums:
THIS article is from 7/29/09 in the Baltimore Sun AND the Washington Post:
Proposed Baltimore soccer stadium could attract D.C. United
New stadium could attract D.C. United
July 29, 2009|By Don Markus, Baltimore SunTwice in the past year, Baltimore has become a soccercentric city.
It happened last summer, for a day, when two of the world's best teams, AC Milan and Chelsea, came to M&T Bank Stadium, bringing more than 72,000 fans with them. It happened recently, during the monthlong World Cup, when fans of the game piled into bars and crowded near the harbor to watch the U.S. team's run to the knockout round.
But could it happen on a more regular basis?
City officials, developers and local soccer aficionados believe it can, if plans move forward for a soccer-only stadium and if Baltimore is successful in attracting D.C. United away from Washington. The next step in that process will likely take shape in early September, when a Tampa, Fla.-based marketing consulting firm will release the findings of a $100,000 feasibility study requested by the Maryland Stadium Authority.
"I think there is a large international population in Baltimore and there is an extreme interest in soccer for sure," said Deputy Mayor Kaliope Parthemos. "There's definitely a fever and excitement for soccer in Baltimore City and we're hoping to capture that."
While the fever might not be as high as it was for last year's international match that featured one of the game's biggest stars, Ronaldinho of Brazil, a crowd of around 35,000 is expected Saturday for a "friendly" between European Cup champion Inter Milan and Manchester City of the English Premier League. As of Wednesday, a little over 32,000 tickets had been sold.
Baltimore is also on the list of 18 possible sites if the U.S. is successful in its bid for the 2018 or 2022 World Cup.
The proposed soccer-only stadium and an adjacent hotel that could accommodate up to 500 guests would be part of a $1.5 billion mixed-use project being developed on the waterfront in Westport. Developer Pat Turner pointed to the fact that television ratings in Baltimore for the World Cup are indicative of how such a stadium -- with the possibility of D.C. United playing there -- would be received in the city.
"Baltimore was the No. 2 city in the nation in terms of watching the World Cup," Turner said Wednesday. "Obviously, it's up to D.C. United whether they make a decision to move here or not, but I think the support here is more than what it is up in Philly," where a soccer-only stadium was opened this year for a Major League Soccer expansion team.