Fans in D.C. Face Wait For Tickets for Beckham

Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, February 7, 2007; Page E01

Soccer superstar David Beckham is scheduled to make his first appearance at RFK Stadium on Aug. 9 when the Los Angeles Galaxy visits D.C. United, but fans interested in buying tickets for the game will have to wait until July.

Tickets for the Galaxy's only visit to Washington are initially available only to those who purchase full season packages, United officials said yesterday. The match will not be included in half-season or flex plans, although those buyers will be placed on a priority list with an option of ordering seats at a later date.

David Beckham
A Match Made in Heaven
David Beckham, the 31-year-old former England captain, agrees to a five-year deal worth an estimated $250 million to play for Major League Soccer's L.A. Galaxy, turning down a two-year contract extension from Real Madrid for a chance to lift soccer's profile in the United States.

"From a business standpoint, this is about making sure people don't cherry-pick the Los Angeles game," United Senior Vice President Stephen Zack said. "We want people to be exposed to D.C. United, not just to see David Beckham play once."

This spring the team also will offer a five-game ticket package, which will include the Los Angeles game as well as the MLS Cup at RFK on Nov. 18.

Single-game tickets for Beckham's visit are tentatively scheduled to go on sale July 2, according to Zack. Tickets to the other 14 regular season home matches will be available March 5.

United is prepared to open sections in the upper deck of RFK for the L.A. game, increasing capacity to approximately 41,000, Zack said.

Other MLS teams also plan to treat a Beckham match differently. Real Salt Lake is making it available initially to only those who purchase full- or half-season packages, although the club will introduce a "Build It With Beckham" three-game promotion that includes tickets to the Galaxy match.

Beckham, the stylish Englishman who has sustained vast global popularity despite diminishing contributions on the field, is expected to join the Galaxy in July after completing his contract with Spanish power Real Madrid.

MLS was able to configure its master schedule so Beckham would appear in every city, except Dallas, during the latter portion of the season. (Los Angeles will visit Dallas for a nonleague match in late July.) All but one of the Galaxy's final 17 regular season games will be shown on national TV, although some are on outlets not available to standard cable subscribers.

Meantime, Freddy Adu, the teenage celebrity traded by United to Real Salt Lake in December, will not return to Washington to face his former team until Sept. 26. United will play Real in Utah on June 23, and although Adu will be preparing to lead the U.S. under-20 national team at the youth World Cup in Canada, Real officials have been assured that Adu will be available to play.

Both the Beckham and Adu visits to RFK will come in the middle of the week. United played most league games last year on Saturdays, but this season there are four on Thursdays, to be shown on ESPN2, and three on Wednesdays. The club also will play seven games on Sundays, most of which will be carried nationally by Spanish-language television outlets.

United Notes: Club officials said they are planning to sign left-side midfielder-forward Yinka Casal, a 19-year-old Englishman with Nigerian roots who had played for Fulham's reserves. He has joined United at training camp in Bradenton, Fla. . . .

In its preseason opener against Danish club Odense yesterday, United dropped a 2-0 decision in a 90-minute game divided into three periods. Goalkeeper Troy Perkins, who returned from U.S. national team duty last weekend, played the entire game. . . .

United will test its young players and reserves this morning against the U.S. under-17 national team.

© 2007 The Washington Post Company