Commanders-Virginia buzz grows louder after stadium bill clears first major hurdle
By Jerry Trotta
Now that the Washington Commanders have a new name, the conversation has started shifting to the location of their new home.
With the franchise’s lease at FedEx Field expiring after the 2026 season, discourse about the next move has grown louder.
Much to the delight of fans, D.C. mayor Muriel Browser tweeted her desire to see the Commanders build their new stadium at the old RKF Stadium just hours after last Wednesday’s rebrand.
While Browser’s push is commendable, it’s not stopping Virginia’s attempt to lure the Commanders to the Commonwealth.
Last week, governor Glenn Younkin revealed he wants Virginia’s Baseball Stadium Authority to focus on a relocation of a professional football team’s home stadium. With the FedEx Field lease running out of steam and Virginia being in close proximity to Landover, Youngkin smells blood in the water.
On Monday, the Virginia buzz grew even louder after the Appropriations Committee voted 14-7 to advance a bill that would create a Virginia stadium authority, according to Michael Phillips of the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
Virginia is pushing hard to lure the Commanders after their FedEx Field lease expires after the 2026 season.
The vote did feature one abstention from Mark Sickles of the Virginia House of Delegates, but he’s not necessarily against having a stadium built. Before he signs off on the idea, he wants to know what role, if any, Dan Snyder will play.
Nothing wrong with making sure all your bases are covered, right?
During Monday’s meeting, House Appropriations Chairman Barry Knight noted he has “blinders on for everything but numbers,” implying that this campaign has his full support so long as it benefits Virginia from a financial standpoint.
If you read between the lines, Knight is basically saying that the legal issues — the latest allegations levied against Dan Snyder — engulfing the franchise won’t be considered as potential stumbling blocks.
Yet another factor that favors Virginia’s position. Want another? It appears the Commonwealth is willing to offer up to pieces of land; one in Price William County and the other in Loudon County, the home of the team’s headquarters.
In a nutshell, the Virginia (Football) Stadium Authority would be similar to Virginia’s Baseball Stadium Authority, under which state officials would create a district or community, if you will, around the stadium.
“Essentially we’re going to have a large campus out there,” Knight said of the authority. “It’s not going to be just a stadium.”
Of course, this is still a three-horse race. While Virginia is certainly establishing a pretty sizable lead in the early goings, Maryland governor Larry Hogan hopes to keep the Commanders in Landover, while Browser is clearly keen on moving the team back to the nation’s capital.
There’s a lot of bidding left to be done, so buckle up.