ASHBURN, Va. — Virginia leaders will continue to push forward with plans to bring the Washington Commanders' new home to the commonwealth despite the state legislature’s failure to pass a stadium funding package this session.
The delays to a stadium deal between the two sides raise the possibility the Commanders could continue to play in the aging FedEx Field even longer than fans expected after Virginia Governor Glen Youngkin stressed he will continue to press for an agreement.
“The legislature has decided to pass on this for the time being, there are some issues that need to be resolved,” Youngkin said Monday. “Should those issues get resolved, I’d like to pick this back up. I believe that Virginia should be the home of a professional sports team.”
At least one state lawmaker, who asked not to be identified, told WUSA9 a tax incentive package for Commanders owner Daniel Snyder could be re-introduced, but not until 2023. If the Commanders put off a decision on the location of its new stadium until next year, it pushes back the completion of the project.
According to NFL Network, the official groundbreaking for the Buffalo Bills' new stadium, which will be open-air and projects to seat 62,000, has a targeted completion date of 2026. The same year the Commanders were once expected to leave FedEx Field.
But pushing back construction of the Commanders' new stadium, which is expected to seat roughly 55,000 and include a dome, means the team could be forced to play at FedEx Field beyond the end of its lease, which is an option because Snyder owns the stadium and the land it sits on. So, he can keep the Washington Commanders at FedEx as long as he needs to.
When asked if it were a possibility the Commanders could play games at Fed Ex Field beyond 2026, a team spokesman declined to comment.
The stadium bill in Virginia, which would have given owner Snyder hundreds of millions of dollars to build his new stadium on one of three Northern Virginia sites, first reported by WUSA9, steadily lost support amid sexual harassment and financial mismanagement investigations.
The Commanders denied all wrongdoing, but after the team suffered another black eye when Defensive Coordinator Jack Del Rio called the January 6 insurrection a dust-up, the stadium proposal was withdrawn.
Still, the Commanders and some Virginia leaders seem poised to press on.
“I’ve been working under the assumption that state legislation is the cost of entry for any deal to get done in Virginia,” said Buddy Rizer, Executive Director of the Department of Economic Development for Loudoun County.
Rizer said despite the stadium deal being on hold, Loudoun County is continuing to work with the Commanders on a potential new stadium site at Waterside, a planned development of shops and offices in Sterling now known as Loudoun Quarries.
The Commanders have already acquired the rights to buy land on another 200-acre site in Woodbridge.
“I don't know that there's ever been a deadline, in my mind,” Riser said. “I think we're just looking to see at this point, is there something here that makes sense that can be a positive for Loudoun County.”
Prince George’s County remains a possibility for the team’s new home, but the state has also refused to give Snyder taxpayer money.
DC City Council members remain opposed to the team returning to the RFK site, under any conditions.