Despite plenty of sentimental support for a new facility at the current RFK Stadium location, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe says he expects a new Redskins stadium to be built in his state down the line.
The Redskins currently play at FedEx Field, but owner Daniel Snyder has retained the Danish firm Bjarke Ingels Group to begin work on design a new facility. With some initial drawings that seem to mirror the wavy lines of RFK Stadium and the fact the stadium is set to be demolished once MLS’s DC United moves to a new facility, the assumption by many is that the District of Columbia has the inside edge on landing the new Redskins stadium.
Not so fast, says McAuliffe: the core of the Redskins’ fan base resides in Virginia, generating the core of the team’s attendance revenues, and so the new stadium should be close to them, sentiment be damned. And he’s promising a painless path to a new Redskins stadium — something that may not be possible with the RFK Stadium site, given past controversies over the Redskins name and the need for the federal government (in the form of the National Park Service) to sign off on a stadium deal. Yeah, it kinda sucks for the Washington Redskins not to play in Washington (Redskins games used to be a huge event at RFK Stadium, less so at FedEx Field), but McAuliffe is talking up Virginia big time. From the Washington Post:
“I view this as a Virginia team,” the governor said on ESPN 980 on Friday morning, during an appearance at the team’s training camp facilities in Richmond. “I know they’re in Maryland right now. But a majority of the season ticket holders are Virginians, all the players live in Virginia, we have all of your [practice] facilities. . . . We’re in very serious negotiations, as I assume other jurisdictions are. Listen, we would love to have them.”…
McAuliffe — who hosted Snyder, team President Bruce Allen and other officials at his mansion Thursday night — said Allen told him that about two-thirds of the team’s revenue comes from Virginia residents. The governor repeatedly cited the need to craft a deal that would be fair to Virginia taxpayers but said “if we can come up and be creative with a deal that works for everybody, then I think the team will be here.”
“I think there’s a lot of reasons why Dan and company want to bring them to Virginia, because of all the things I just mentioned,” McAuliffe said. “But what I always say is it’s got to make sense for the taxpayers of Virginia. We’ve got to negotiate a deal — my job as governor is to get economic activity — but you’ve also got to protect the taxpayer dollars. And we’ve got to be creative with this thing, so we’re protecting the taxpayers, it’s in the taxpayers’ best interests and it’s a win-win for the Redskins.”
The team’s lease at FedEx Field ends in 2027.