RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The effort to lure the Washington Commanders to Virginia is still on.
The Commanders have a contract to continue playing their home games at FedEx Field in Landover, Md., until the end of the 2026 season.
Proposals to pave the way for a potential stadium in Northern Virginia stalled last year, but steps have been taken to possibly revive the push.
Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) has proposed setting aside $500,000 in the state budget to plan a potential relocation of the team. The money would let Virginia’s secretary of finance “develop relevant capabilities, conduct planning, and evaluate potential economic incentives” in fiscal year 2024.
The House of Delegates Appropriations Committee unanimously approved a budget proposal Sunday to create a football stadium authority board and study potential incentives to help bring the team from Maryland to Virginia.
If approved, the proposal would require the Major Employment and Investment (MEI) Project Approval Commission, an advisory panel for the legislature, to review the effort.
There is no similar proposal in the budget amendments approved by the Virginia Senate’s money committee. The Senate panel did, however, agree to add language to the budget tying a potential incentives report to a stadium traffic impact study.
“This amendment states the intent of the General Assembly that any incentive package for the Washington Commanders stadium location will not be approved until such time as a traffic impact analysis has been performed and the necessary financing of multimodal improvement projects to improve the flow of traffic in a 50-mile radius of the stadium location must be in service prior to the opening of any stadium,” an explanation of the budget amendment reads.
The Virginia General Assembly approved bills to establish a stadium authority board last year but a compromise on the legislation was not put forward for a final vote.
The measure would have created a stadium authority made up of nine members that would oversee the financing for the construction project. The group would have been “authorized to hire independent contractors, enter contracts, acquire property, borrow money, and exercise other similar powers.”
A concern for many state lawmakers during last year’s debate over the legislation was the ongoing controversy surrounding the team, including workplace misconduct and sexual harassment claims, and its owner Dan Snyder.
A U.S. House report found the organization had a “toxic work culture,” ignored and downplayed sexual misconduct. The D.C. Attorney General also filed a civil consumer protection lawsuit against the team, Snyder and the National Football League.
Reports that Snyder is considering selling parts or all of the team could play a factor in the pursuit of having the Commanders move to Virginia. The team is considering other sites for 2027 and beyond, including staying in Maryland or moving to D.C.