D.C. council holds dumbest hearing ever on dumbest stadium idea ever

So the Washington, D.C. council held that hearing yesterday on councilmember Vincent Orange’s plan for a 100,000-seat football stadium/hotel/golf course/indoor water park/etc. on the site of RFK Stadium, and I’m sure there was lots of important testimony about how much it would cost and how it would be paid for and stuff like that. Right? Right?

“I believe RFK Stadium and the surrounding land could be turned into a successful financial venture for the District of Columbia,” testified D.L. “Corky” Calhoun, a D.C. business executive and former member of the 1976 championship NBA Portland Trail Blazers.

“Like the Washington Wizards and the Washington Nationals the Washington Redskins should be playing their games here in a facility in Washington D.C.,” said Calhoun.

Okay, people in the sports world think sports teams are peachy keen. What else?

“It creates new opportunities and lots and lots of new jobs. One hotel, the size of 500 rooms, could create as many as 1,000 new jobs in the area,” [Hotel developer William] Conway testified.

And hotel developers think hotels are peachy keen. Come on, somebody testified about the details of the plan, right?

“If there is to be a new football stadium built in the metropolitan region, and the Redskins organization certainly wants that, there is no better site than where RFK now sits,” declared D.C. Council member Jack Evans, a member of the Economic Development Committee.

We got it, people like football. Anybody?

District resident Ronald Dixon said, “The Redskins need to be in D.C. Because they are a destination. You can build on that.”

From the looks of things, the only person who actually talked about economics or finances was neighborhood advisory commission chair Brian Flahaven, whose website I’ve linked to before, and who raised the issue of a football stadium being a terrible anchor for hotels, given that “there’s only ten football games a year … plus maybe you get a concert here or there. The rest of the year, the stadium is not open… it just sits there.” Which is an interesting point, but, you know, FOOOOOOOOTBALLLLLLLLLL!!!! Because that’s what public oversight is all about.


10 comments on “D.C. council holds dumbest hearing ever on dumbest stadium idea ever

  1. I’m wondering why was the hearing dumb? I saw nothing in your piece that articulated anything other than the testimonies of the witnesses. What’s dumb about the District seeking to purchase the land in which RFK sits? What’s dumb about being able to own that piece of land and not lease it? What’s dumb about being able to generate revenue off the land instead of paying for it and not using it? What’s dumb about it? It seems to me, you may not like to proposed study to determine if ownership is the best use, but to call it dumb only identifies how smart you are or not. But I guess for you and Brian, leasing is the best way to govern the Districts money, just throw it away in a lease and get no benefit from it, just like renting pay someone else’s mortgage while they get the benefit of ownership. And by the way, what’s wrong with a stadium? Seems to me, that’s what was there before when the Deadskins were here, I don’t think folks were up in arms about there only being 10 games then….and it wasn’t a state-of-the-art stadium, so of course no other entity would want to use it. That’s not the case in Dallas or Houston, those stadiums are being used constantly. So, before you call something dumb, ask the question…how smart are you? Oops, I guess that might be considered personal and not be posted….Oh, well!

  2. Perhaps you didn’t think this article through. Look into city’s New Orleans, Atlanta, Dallas, Houston and many others with NFL stadiums. Check out the income generated very year from non-football related events. Then come back and tell us how foolish it is. I guarantee that will not be results. I think the plan on the table is a good one. One that will actually bring more people in for family events, golf outing (because of the re-furbished Langston), with the infrastructure in place to handle it.

    Please form an opinion as a result of research, otherwise you are just another hack….

  3. The income for cities from non-football events at NFL facilities is close enough to zero to be considered zero. (That’s not the case for NBA/NHL arenas, obviously, but football stadiums just aren’t good for a whole lot else.) If your point is, though, that football stadiums are such a waste of space most of the year that a golf course looks like a major economic stimulus by comparison, you’ll get no argument from me here.

    Anyway, I wasn’t saying that the hearing was dumb because it was about what to do with the RFK site. It was dumb because, at least if the news reporting can be believed (I wasn’t able to tune in), instead of focusing on what alternate uses were possible for the site and how much each would cost and benefit the public, it mostly consisted of people testifying about how super-cool-awesome their own pet part of the project would be. With hearings like these, who needs press releases?

  4. For alternate uses of the stadium, Washington currently has issues filling the downtown convention center. The demand for that space is DC is likely to be nil.

  5. New Orleans is one of the poorest cities in the United States. To the extent that the other cities are prosperous, its due to business factors that have absolutely nothing to do with football.

  6. Can we just cut all the blathering and get to the part where the public gives us NFL guys some more stadium cash? Sheesh.

  7. I thought the NFL had a fairly new stadium for the team in Washington, in the suburbs. Do most of the fans come from the District? I can’t fathom why the public should pay for, or even designate land for, an NFL stadium when they’ve already got one.

  8. Missing from this discussion is the Redskins showing interest in moving from FedEx Field which opened in 1997. Has anyone asked Daniel Snyder what he thinks of this?

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