Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe has been an unashamed booster of luring Washington’s NFL team to his state, mostly by shouting exuberantly a lot about how many players and fans already live there and promising to build a stadium with no public money, only the sale of public development rights, which is a totally different thing, right? And with six months to go in his term, McAuliffe is only ratcheting up his rhetoric:
“We’ve laid everything out and served it up beautifully,” McAuliffe said in an interview with The Washington Post. “If they were smart, and they really wanted to be Super Bowl champions, they would have that facility in Virginia.”
This is … a promise? A challenge? A taunt? I always thought that it was a bad idea to use the subjunctive mood when referring to the brains of your would-be business partners, but maybe they do things differently in Virginia.
As for funding for this stadium, McAuliffe says it’d be paid for by proceeds from developing the land around it, just like the Los Angeles Rams and Chargers are doing in Inglewood: “You need an area with a big enough land mass to it, like they’re doing in L.A. They’re basically building a new city around the football stadium.” Which fundamentally misunderstands what’s going on in L.A., which is that the two team owners (mostly the Rams’ Stan Kroenke) are spending a ton of money on a stadium and surrounding development in order to get a foothold in the L.A. market, which is possibly dumb because big markets don’t mean that much in the NFL, but anyway.
It’s still not clear whether McAuliffe means giving the NFL team development rights to public land — which would undoubtedly be a subsidy — or just telling team owner Dan Snyder, “Hey, you can make lots of money building stuff in Virginia and then sink it into your own stadium,” which is unlikely to be much of a lure since Snyder could equally well make lots of money (if money is there to be made) building stuff in Virginia and not sinking it into a stadium and trying to get somebody else to pay for his stadium like the team’s previous owners did last time. Anyway, McAuliffe will be out of office soon so most of this probably doesn’t matter, but I’ll kind of miss him when he’s gone, you know? Unvarnished crazy doesn’t come around every day, at least not outside of the White House these days.