Most discussions of a new Washington Redskins stadium have revolved around D.C. and Virginia, but Maryland cannot be discounted, according to Prince Georges County executive Rushern Baker.
While Prince Georges County, Maryland has hosted the Redskins at FedEx Field since 1997, it has not been mentioned much in the Redskins’ stadium search. Jack Kent Cooke originally arrived in Prince Georges County after trying, unsuccessfully, to secure stadium deals in Virginia, D.C., and neighboring Anne Arundel County. The politics in Prince Georges County and the State of Maryland–which funded both FedEx Field and the Baltimore Ravens’ M&T Bank Stadium in the same time frame–have changed over the years, leaving questions as to whether keeping the Redskins in the state is a priority for Maryland.
According to Baker, Prince Georges County does not plan to go down without a fight. Though development at FedEx Field’s location has never quite taken off, the executive says that the county views the area as an economic development priority, and believes that there will be an opportunity for the Redskins. More from the Washington Business Journal:
“It’s an important corporation here and we will treat them like any other corporation we want to keep,” Baker said as part of a roundtable with Washington Business Journal reporters and editors. “We are not going to go over the balance sheet. We are going to make sure we are competitive.”
Baker originally didn’t vote for FedEx Field in Landover, the team’s current stadium, when he was in the state’s House of Delegates because he thought it didn’t make sense as a standalone project with events just eight or 10 times a year. But as the county works to develop the area around FedEx Field, it has become an important piece of the county’s wider economic development effort, he said.
“Economic development should not happen in a vacuum,” Baker said. “What we want folks to do is to come and be entertained but also to stop at our restaurants, stay at our hotels, to come before and after the game to Dave & Buster’s, or maybe on their way out to Virginia to stop at National Harbor,” Baker said.
Virginia is seen as a serious competitor in the Redskins’ stadium search. The team already has operations there, could still attract fans from the District, and would have an entire state from which to strengthen its fan base. However, as was covered here yesterday, Loudon County has emerged as Virginia’s only willing partner on the project, and the county faces some question marks in dealing with accessibility to and from D.C. as well as finding adequate land for a stadium and related development.
Prince Georges County would actually be closer to many of the fans in the District, so perhaps Baker and the county will pitch accessibility as one of their key selling points. The Redskins are also considering locations within D.C. so, while Prince Georges County cannot be completely ruled out, the Redskins have enough options to look elsewhere before making a decision.