It’s early yet, but it looks like Washington’s NFL team is setting up for a three-way bidding war to see who’ll get to build the replacement for FedEx Field, which is 18 years old already, why is this taking so long? According to the Washington Post:
[Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe] has pitched multiple sites for a stadium in Loudoun County along the unbuilt second leg of Metro’s Silver Line, according to two people with direct knowledge of the negotiations. Those people say that Virginia officials have also begun discussing infrastructure costs and legal agreements with the team.
Maryland, where the team has played for nearly two decades, has just begun its own effort to keep the Redskins, led by new Republican Gov. Larry Hogan, who proclaimed support for the team’s moniker during his campaign. Hogan said he recently pitched Redskins owner Daniel Snyder on staying in Maryland during a two-hour meeting.
D.C., meanwhile, hasn’t had any talks lately with Snyder since people finished laughing at councilmember Vincent Orange’s laughable 100,000-seat stadium plan, but it’s still always on the back burner, especially now that D.C. United will be leaving RFK Stadium, making that site available for a possible future football stadium. Snyder undoubtedly knows that bidding wars are the best way to get politicians to open taxpayers’ wallets with alacrity — it worked amazingly for the Nationals, after all — so he’s starting early.
And in case you’re wondering whether Snyder signed a lease at FedEx Field when it opened in 1997: Sure he did, and it runs through 2027, but that’s not going to stop him from talking about building a new stadium now — especially if he thinks that he can either get a new suitor to help him buy his way out of the end of that lease, or get Maryland to let him break the lease in exchange for not hopping across the state border. This is why “no talking about new stadiums” lease clauses are so important, and why the St. Petersburg city council is absolutely justified in not wanting to let the Tampa Bay Rays out of theirs for cheap.