Image Courtesy of the ESPN
By Jonathan Norman
Amid the scandals that owner Dan Snyder is facing and the team’s recent failure to make the playoffs, a new topic of conservation has emerged around the Washington Commanders with rumors of potentially moving to Virginia. Bloomberg reported that Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin is looking to pitch to the Commanders’ ownership to move from their current stadium in Landover, Maryland. Youngkin is hoping to discuss the move more once the Commanders have been sold by their current owner Dan Snyder. Many government officials and other business personnel do not wish to associate with Snyder because of the numerous complaints that have surfaced regarding Snyder allegedly cultivating a toxic workplace culture. Reports are saying the Commanders may be sold for $7 billion or more and Youngkin is waiting to begin further discussions until this deal is made because he wants to mainly converse with the individual who will run the team for the foreseeable future.
“I would hope to have a chance to negotiate something, at least to have a serious discussion,” Youngkin said. “I will look out for Virginia taxpayers first and foremost, but I think there’s a real opportunity here.”
Youngkin included some funds for stadium construction among a package of other budget amendments to the Virginia General Assembly last month. This resulted in various state lawmakers discussing the potential relocation of the Commander and including Senator Scott A. Surovell (D- Fairfax) whose district encompasses one of the sites for the new Commanders stadium.
“I don’t see any downside in continuing to gather information regardless of the team’s ownership discussions,” state Sen. Scott A. Surovell said. “It is a $3 billion entertainment complex that would be a major economic catalyst and have a major positive impact on quality of life in Eastern Prince William County if it is done correctly.”
With Virginia state senators continuing to discuss the potential move of the Commanders to Virginia, it shows the relocation is still possible. The chances of the move seemed to be slim this past summer, however, when the state senate gave up on a bill that sought to bring the Commander to Virginia. When more negative reports had been released on Commanders’ owner Dan Snyder lawmakers, such as State Senate Majority Leader Richard L. Saslaw (D-Fairfax) began to move away from the idea.
Now that the Commanders are rumored to have an ownership change, conversations about the Commander’s new home in Virginia seem to be alive again. Buddy Rizer, who is the executive director for economic development in Loudoun County-one of the possible areas for the new stadium in Virginia- said that the legislation was not required for the Commanders’ relocation to happen, and it is still very much a possibility.
“The legislation is just one piece of this puzzle,” Buddy Rizer said. “We’re committed to continuing our work with the team on the local pieces of this project to see if there is an opportunity to bring this vision to reality in Loudoun County.”
Kickoff for a Commanders game in Virginia would still be many years away even if the team decided to commit to the move. The team is contractually obligated to play at FedEx Field in Maryland until 2027. On top of that, the team has yet to be sold and Youngkin and Virginia lawmakers will not allow the team to move to their state until ownership changes. The team is likely to be sold soon so Youngkin may begin his pitch for the relocation of the Commander very soon.
“My hope is to communicate very clearly to whoever the buyer may be, that we’d sure like to have you in Virginia and we want to sit down and talk to you,” Youngkin said.