30 Miles That Feels Like A Thousand
They say "You are only 30 miles away from an MLS team, just root for DC United." There are at least two main reasons why this has not happened for DC United during its 20 years of existence.
As most people in the greater Baltimore region know, the area between northern Virginia and Towson is one giant city - a huge mass of people, cars, and traffic. The US Census Bureau even views the region as one single large metropolitan region called a "combined statistical area". The greater Baltimore-Washington region in this classification ranks 4th largest after New York, LA, and Chicago. The top two cities on this list already have two MLS teams each, and with good reason. The driving chaos one must traverse to reach the other city is a real issue for the casual fan on a Sunday evening, not to mention a possible mid-week game.
Outside of the physical difficulties of moving your vehicle from the Baltimore area into downtown DC, there is also the proud Baltimorean who takes a real issue with becoming a Washington fan. Baltimore went without an NFL team for 30 years and it is very well documented that Marylander's as a whole after the many years following the loss of the Baltimore Colt's did not turn to their close neighbors for a team to support. Something just seems wrong with a Baltimorean truly supporting a Washington based team. No Washington based team of any sport throughout history has been able to conquer the Baltimore market except for the Capital's and that has more to do with the history of hockey between Baltimore and Washington than any marketing tactic. Here is a great article about some of the main differences between our great cities.
If DC United and MLS were still wondering why they do not get a stronger turn out of Baltimoreans or were still holding out hope we would change our minds, this should hopefully outline some of the reasons why Baltimore is not just 30 miles away.