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Best of 2016: #7, Washington Redskins Search for Stadium Site

Washington NFL stadium designed by Bjarke Ingels

We end 2016 with a countdown of the 10 biggest stories of the year on Football Stadium Digest, as chosen by editors and partially based on page views. Today, #7: The Washington Redskins consider sites for a new stadium.  

It is evident that the Washington Redskins and owner Dan Snyder would like secure a new stadium to replace FedEx Field. Over the past year, the team was heavily courted by Virginia and mulled a return to the RFK Stadium site, but plenty of uncertainties remain as 2017 approaches.

The Redskins’ lease at FedEx Field does not end until 2027, but the team is already doing its due diligence in seeking other options. In comments back in September, Prince Georges County executive Rushern Baker said that his county should not be counted out when it comes to the Redskins, as it could work with the team on a project surrounding the current FedEx Field site.

Other options for the Redskins, however, would place them outside of Prince Georges County, Maryland, which they have called home since 1997. Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe was quite vocal in his support of the Redskins, touting Loudon County as a possible location for a new stadium. In his pitch, McAuliffe outlined the team’s already strong presence in Loudon County, strong fan support from state residents, and convenient access for fans located in the District of Columbia.

Loudon County, however, will have to come up with a site for the stadium. It also appeared that the county was the state’s only willing partner in a stadium project, which would likely have to take place somewhere in Northern Virginia. (Looking ahead, it should also be noted that McAuliffe’s last year on his current term is 2017, and the Virginia Constitution prevents him from serving consecutive terms.)

If Virginia is not the future home of the Redskins, then Washington may have a solution in the RFK Stadium site. The former home to the Redskins is still an active sports venue, but the MLS’ D.C. United are currently slated to leave the facility after the 2017 season and are hoping to move to a new facility in Buzzard Point during the 2018 campaign.

Lining up a stadium in the District is sure to involve numerous moving parts. However, talks about the RFK Stadium site could have a different tone in 2017, which will be the first year under president Donald Trump. We explained this potential effect in a story in November:

There has been plenty of sentiment about a new Redskins stadium in the District of Columbia, as RFK Stadium is set to be torn down once a new D.C. United stadium opens. Events DC manages the site under a long-term lease from the National Park Service, which is overseen by the Department of the Interior. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell has opposed a new Redskins stadium at the site, arguing that the Redskins moniker was a relic of the past and should be eliminated.

But there’s not widespread agreement that the name should be changed, and with a Trump administration, governmental opposition to the name probably will go away. And that could open up the site to a new long-term lease with Events DC, paving the way for a new Redskins stadium. D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser is in favor of a new Redskins stadium at the site, and with team owner Dan Snyder already preparing some conceptual drawings of a new Redskins stadium (as shown above), the pieces are certainly coming into place.

There are obviously numerous variables in play, but it looks like the Redskins will continue their stadium search in 2017, with 2016 potentially laying the foundation for what could be ahead.

Previously in our Top Ten Stories of 2016 List:

#8: Colorado State Preps for New Stadium

#9: Mercedes-Benz Stadium

#10: Buffalo Bills’ Stadium Debate

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August Publications