Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe is continuing to state his case for a new Washington Redskins stadium in Loudon County, and has made a public plea to the team.
McAuliffe was one of the speakers at Wednesday’s Welcome Home Luncheon. It has been known that he is enthusiastically behind a plan that would bring the Redskins to Loudon County, and he took advantage of his opportunity at the team’s annual event to make the case that they should settle in Virginia.
His reasoning behind why Virginia should build the stadium is that Redskins already have such a presence in the area. More from the Washington Post:
“A majority of the folks who go to the games, season-ticket holders, are from where? The Commonwealth of Virginia!” McAuliffe pointed out to an audience that included Redskins owner Daniel Snyder, team president Bruce Allen and 600 well-heeled supporters. “Sixty-six percent of the revenue to the Redskins comes from where? Residents of the Commonwealth of Virginia! Every player lives where? The Commonwealth of Virginia!”
After thanking the Redskins for being “a great economic driver” for the state, McAuliffe noted: “We have your headquarters! We have your training facility! What else could there possibly be?”
The ongoing search for a facility to replace FedEx Field has a few interesting elements. Obviously there is some sentiment to bringing the Redskins back to the District of Columbia, a scenario in which the team could potentially construct a new facility on the site of RFK Stadium.
Conversely, Virginia has its own motives. In terms of population, it is the largest state in the country without a major sports franchise. And while it does receive considerable attention–sometimes in the form of training complexes–from DC’s franchises, McAuliffe would certainly be in distinction among the state’s governors if he helps lead an initiative.
Virginia has made runs at major franchises in past, with a few concepts being floated for Major League Baseball until the Montreal Expos moved to Washington. More recently, the Sacramento Kings were briefly tied to Virginia Beach in their search for an arena, but the Kings ultimately stayed in Sacramento.
At this point Virginia has an opportunity to attract the Redskins, who obviously have a network of fans in the state and a move to Loudon County could be supported by a potential extension of the DC Metro’s Silver Line. Of course, the Redskins have a lease at FedEx Field through 2027 and this debate will probably play on for some time. In the meantime, McAuliffe is clearly trying to seize what may be a rare opportunity for Virginia.
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