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D.C. United hires Danita Johnson as President of Business Operations

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Johnson will be the first Black president of an MLS team

Tricky And Terk Visions Presents The Annual Oscars Weekend “Influencers Brunch” Photo by Michael Tran/Getty Images

After reporting by Steve Goff that it was imminent, D.C. United has officially announced the hiring of Danita Johnson as President of Business Operations for the team. Johnson joins D.C. United from the Los Angeles Sparks, where she has served as President and Chief Operating Officer.

Johnson will oversee the business side of D.C. United, and is familiar with the District, having served as Director of Ticket Sales for the Washington Mystics in 2013 and 2014. Business operations and soccer operations will remain separate, according to Steve Goff, with both Johnson and Dave Kasper reporting to owners Jason Levien and Steve Kaplan.

The last person in this role specifically was Tom Hunt, who had a contentious relationship with the fanbase before he left over two years ago. Andy Bush, who left in May, filled some of those roles as the Chief Business Officer.

Johnson also represents a hire outside of MLS, from a league that has seen explosive growth over the past few years. In 2020, the WNBA posted higher television ratings than MLS, and so fresh ideas need to be on the table for both United in particular and the league more broadly. The WNBA has also mastered social media engagement, broadcasts, and gameday experiences, and so hopefully Johnson can bring a new set of ideas to a league and team that can seem stagnate.

After explosive growth in the last decade, MLS has plateaued again, and fresh ideas are necessary. Hopefully, Johnson can bring those ideas.