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D.C. United staying at RFK Stadium through 2013

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The authority that manages RFK Stadium and D.C. United have agreed to a new lease that keep the team there through at least the 2013 season and will bring about renovations and improvements to the 50-year-old stadium.

Andy Najar and D.C. United will stay at RFK through at least 2013. (Photo: Associated Press)

Events DC and the the MLS charter club, which won MLS Cup titles in 1996, 1997, 1999 and 2004, announced Thursday that they had reached an agreement for the team to stay at RFK, the only stadium it has played home games at, for the entire 2012 and 2013 seasons.

"We are hopeful that the team remains in the District and look forward to United bringing home another MLS Cup," D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray said in the statement.

As part of the new deal, the capacity for D.C. United games at RFK Stadium will be limited to 19,647, well below the stadium's full capacity of about 46,000. The upper deck will be covered for United games, giving what club president Kevin Payne says is not only a more intimate atmosphere but more branding opportunities.

"It's more important that our supporters become accustomed to a 20,000 seat stadium, and we expect that limiting the capacity will encourage an increase in season ticket sales," Payne said.

RFK will also get several upgrades as part of the deal, including improved concourse lighting, renovated restrooms, an upgraded sound system and new bleachers.

A new facility maintenance fee will be added to all tickets sold to events on the RFK Stadium and D.C. Armory grounds to help pay for the improvements. The $2.25 fee for events at the stadium will be added to tickets starting on Friday.

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