It took me much longer than expected but I am finally posting the interview with D.C. United Owner Will Chang, who was in town for the team’s kickoff luncheon on Wednesday.
So no stadium talk today?
No, no we don’t have any news yet if we had news we would have said something. No news but everything is kind of moving forward and I’m cautiously optimistic that we’ll be able to announce something soon.
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How are you progressing in adding investors?
What I’d like to do is not necessarily bring investors in for the sake of bringing investors in for the sake of bringing investors in. What I’m really more interested in diversifying the ownership group so that there’s more ownership locally. I love D.C. but my family and my wife loves living where we are in California and we’re not going to move here. I believe that sports franchises – and we’re not different – should be run almost like a quasi-public trust and really should be run for the benefit of the fans and the people that live in this community. And that really starts with having a diversified ownership that has roots in this community. As much as I want to be a part of this community I don’t live here and to say that I have roots here. That’s my primary interest in being able to diversify the ownership group. I’ve talked to a number of people who are from this community. It’s a difficult process.
How closely tied is adding investors to the stadium process?
Very much so because the more diversified the ownership group, the more support I’m going to have locally. I find myself almost in a similar situation to the former owner of the San Francisco Giants, Bob Lurie. Bob Lurie he was born in San Francisco, his father was a very prominent businessman, Bob’s very much involved in the community but he was one man. And he went to the ballot three times to get a stadium built for the San Francisco Giants and couldn’t do it. And 11th hour right before he was about to sell the franchise to a gentleman who was going to move the franchise to Florida a local group came together, which is my group, and now there are about 25 in our group. A very diversified group, very much rooted in our community and what 25 guys can do one guy cannot do. I really do believe that I need to have friends and roots into the community to be able to move the process forward.
Has the equation advanced with the new administration. A lot of what is being said is what was being said a year ago. Are you further along?
Definitely further along, and we are in discussions. I’m not prepared to really give details, but we are in discussions and I’m cautiously optimistic that I’m going to be able to report something soon.
Do those conversations involve specific locations?
We are looking at a few locations. Again I’m not really prepared to identify which locations there are. I think there’s a lot of speculation, but I’ll kind of leave it at that. When we do have something concrete and ready to announce we will certainly announce it, but at this point in time I’m not ready to identify the site...or sites.
Is adding investors something that allows you to stay in San Francisco or are you committed to this team for the long-term?
I’m committed to this team long-term. Bringing in local folks and diversifying the ownership really has no bearing to my commitment to my team. I love this team and I try to make every effort to be a part of the D.C. United family. And that commitment absolutely will not change.