Washington Spirit to play full time at Audi Field starting 2023

WASHINGTON, DC – APRIL 03: Washington Spirit celebrate after defeating Orlando Pride at Audi Field on April 03, 2022 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)

Audi Field, D.C.’s 20,000 soccer stadium in Navy Yard, will have a new full-time tenant starting 2023: the Washington Spirit.

The National Women’s Soccer League side said in a release Tuesday that the stadium will become its exclusive home after agreeing to a multiyear deal with D.C. United, who owns the venue. News of the deal was first reported by The Washington Post.

“The state-of-the-art Audi Field will allow our athletes to perform at the highest level and produce the best results possible,” president of Soccer Operations Mark Krikorian said. “It is one of the best professional soccer stadiums in the country and it is where our club belongs. We are looking to dominate in the District.”

Under the new deal, the Spirit will play its 11 regular-season home games in D.C., along with Challenge Cup tournament matches. The NWSL announced in November that all regular season matches in 2023 will take place on weekends only.

Current Spirit and D.C. United season ticket holders will have the first opportunity to purchase 2023 season tickets. A public sale of season tickets will begin on Dec. 20. Fans interested in  purchasing season tickets can sign up for priority access on the Spirit’s website.

With the full-time move, the Spirit plans to make investments to “significantly enhance” the gameday experience, including more benefits for season ticket holders, more pre-match activities and improved match presentations. During games at Audi Field in the 2022 season, Washington created “Spiritville” — a fan interactive area — which featured music, a kids’ zone and free beer to the first 1,000 fans over 21 years old.

Washington began playing individual special matches at Audi Field in 2018. The club then signed a deal with United just before the 2020 season to split its home matches between the Navy Yard venue and Segra Field in Leesburg, Virginia. The Spirit plans to continue training at the United Performance Center, per the news release.

Spirit owner Michele Kang thanked D.C. United’s leadership group for making changes in their stadium arrangement.

“On behalf of all our players, staff and investors, I want to thank our fans who have steadfastly supported the club through highs and lows, especially those who came to Segra in the last three years,” owner Michele Kang said in a statement. “Moving all our games to Audi will allow us to build a truly Premier, Professional and Proudly DC women’s soccer team.”

Audi Field just hosted the NWSL Championship game in October and was named the host site for the 2023 MLS All-Star Game. The stadium will also host the XFL’s D.C. Defenders starting in 2023.

José Umaña

José Umaña is a digital editor for WTOP. He’s been working as a journalist for almost a decade, covering local news, education and sports. His work has appeared in The Prince George’s Sentinel, The Montgomery Sentinel, Orlando Sentinel, PressBox and The Diamondback.

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