Commanders keeping stadium options open even after Va. land deal originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington
The Commanders took their first major step toward a new stadium with the $100 million procurement of 200 acres of land in Prince William County, Va., near Woodbridge, a source confirmed to NBC Sports Washington.
For months there’s been rampant speculation where a new stadium could emerge and the news about the Woodbridge site takes the first real step toward a move away from FedEx Field in Landover, Md., the team's home since 1997.
The Commanders are locked into a land lease at their current stadium through the 2027 season, but considering the scope of a stadium construction project, sources involved in the proceedings made clear the Commanders want to get negotiations moving.
ESPN first reported the new land deal in Prince William County.
After speaking with multiple sources Monday, it’s been repeated that the Woodbridge site does not constitute a finalized plan. Much will be determined by how much cash the Virginia legislature comes up with for stadium construction. A new budget for the Commonwealth is expected soon, perhaps as soon as the next week, NBC Sports Washington was told.
Once Virginia commits cash to the project, sources close to the situation believe Prince William County officials could also commit public funding. At that point things would become much more real.
Don’t count out the incumbent site of FedEx Field either, though.
Prince George’s County, Md. officials have been open about their desire to keep the team playing in their jurisdiction and there are already significant development plans from the “Blue Line Corridor” where a new stadium could serve as an anchor.
Maryland has committed $400 million for that development but Governor Larry Hogan has been adamant that the public money is not to be used for a new stadium. One source close to the situation said county officials remain motivated to keep the team but don’t want to be used as leverage for other jurisdictions.
Then there’s D.C., and a return to the RFK Stadium site, which was the team's home for 35 years after it opened in 1961.
While that’s the number one option for seemingly every Commanders fan, it remains the longest shot, according to sources. Not only would the site limit the ability for massive development surrounding the stadium, but there’s also the hurdle of working with both the federal government -- RFK sits on leased federal land -- and the District government.
Of a return to RFK, one source said, “it’s not dead but it’s not close.”
It is relatively common for cities, counties and states to help fund new stadiums for professional sports franchises. It doesn't always happen. Capital One Arena in downtown Washington was privately financed by the late Abe Pollin, longtime owner of the NBA's Wizards and NHL's Capitals. SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles was a $5 billion project financed by Rams owner Stan Kroenke that opened in 2020.
The NFL's Buffalo Bills, meanwhile, settled on a public-private partnership with New York State and Erie County, N.Y. in March for a $1.4 billion stadium.
Building a new stadium for the Commanders will eventually land as a multi-billion dollar project. There will be multiple steps along the way, however, and likely a few hurt feelings between competing communities.