Levien, Thohir buying stakes in D.C. United
It was just another normal training session for D.C. United players on May 25. On the day before a home game, the team practices on the field inside RFK Stadium instead of the training field, where it normally practices.
But the proceedings ended with a gathering of players and coaches to be introduced to prospective investors Jason Levien and Erick Thohir by team president Kevin Payne, following their tour of the stadium.
On Tuesday at the W Hotel in Washington, the team will hope that it's the start of something much more permanent when Levien and Thohir are introduced again. This time it will be as new members of D.C. United's ownership group in a partnership with current majority owner Will Chang.
"They seem pretty motivated to join this team, to help continue to build the success of this team, which is good," United All-Star midfielder Dwayne De Rosario said. "I think it's a great time right now to invest in this league."
The last time United had such an event was five years ago around the corner at The Willard, where Victor MacFarlane and Chang were unveiled. The audience included a number of politicians hoping to be involved as D.C. United embarked on a journey toward a new stadium. MacFarlane sold his share to Chang in 2009 after failed attempts to secure a deal at Poplar Point in Southeast Washington and later in Prince George's County.
The addition of Levien and Thohir, who are also minority owners with the NBA's Philadelphia 76ers, won't immediately reignite the stadium pursuit. In the short term, the additional investment will give the team more financial strength to absorb losses that come with residing at RFK Stadium. United has also fallen behind legacy teams like New York and Los Angeles, and newer MLS teams like Seattle, in its ability to vie for high-priced players.
"We know that a lot of work is being put into the shaping and success of this club," De Rosario said. "There are a lot of things that are being addressed that we'd like to see change so hopefully this new ownership will come in and help speed that process."