Major League Soccer franchise DC United has extended its contract with Ticketmaster as its official ticketing partner, with the new multi-year deal to begin in 2018 to coincide with the opening of the team’s new Audi Field stadium.

The club has been partners with Ticketmaster since its formation in 1996, and has decided to continue using its service long-term through the new agreement.

Ticketmaster will provide verified primary tickets, along with an added resale-ticketing platform for 17 home games a year at Audi Field.

The expansion of the company’s secondary market to access marketing and performance data was a key reason behind DC United’s desire to extend its contract longer-term.

“We chose Ticketmaster after an extensive evaluation and recognised them to be the best strategic partner to address our current and future ticketing and technology needs,” Mike Schoenbrun, DC United’s chief revenue officer, said.

“With momentum building ahead of the first match at Audi Field next year, we know that Ticketmaster will provide the best technology available in the industry plus extensive marketing data and analytics that will enhance our fans’ experiences even further in a state-of-the-art venue.”

Ticketmaster uses technology that can enhance a CRM lead strategy, campaign tracking and analysis while boosting engagement on digital campaigns, which DC United said would “meet the team’s vision to provide the best in-game experience for fans.”

Ticketmaster will leverage its own data enhancing service, LiveAnalytics, to help DC United better understand and strengthen its engagement with season ticket members and single-game fans.

“We’ve been fortunate to work with a leading MLS team like DC United for over 20 years, and their fans know they can rely on Ticketmaster as a safe and reliable place for verified tickets,” Jared Smith, president of Ticketmaster North America, said.

“With Audi Field opening in 2018, it’s an exciting time to expand our partnership even further by leveraging our open platform and new mobile products to build a seamless experience that United fans can enjoy from the moment they search for tickets up to game day.”

The more than half-a-billion-dollar Audi Field will hold 20,000 fans. It will also feature 31 luxury suites, a bike valet, and 500,000 total square feet of mixed-use retail and residential space on site.

In late February, work on the stadium began with more than 500 people gathered to watch the club break ground on the facility.