Yesterday, the new Mayor of Washington, Muriel Bowser, made it clear that she would like the Redskins to move back to the District, and to make it possible she would work to find suitable land for a new stadium. This is a reversal in DC policy; former Mayor Vincent Gray made it clear that the Redskins would have to change their name before they would be allowed back in DC.
However, Bowser, so as not to stray too far from politically correct orthodoxy, would not use the word Redskins. Rather, she pusillanimously stated, “Washington (Redskins) belongs in Washington.”
My guess is Redskins owner Daniel Snyder did not appreciate Bowser’s refusal, indeed, discourtesy, of not using the team’s name. Political correctness is a funny thing. She wants the Redskins to come to DC, but feels compelled not to refer to them by their name.
It is no secret that Virginia’s Governor Terry McAulife wants the Redskins to move to Virginia. His legacy was supposed to be the expansion of the popular welfare program Medicaid. Seems the General Assembly would not go along, but bringing the Redskins here would be a major accomplishment. I think Terry is down with the idea.
He is not the first governor to desire luring the team to the Old Dominion. I remember in the early 1990’s then-Governor Doug Wilder’s coup in getting the Redskins to tentatively agree to come to Alexandria on the condition that a stadium would be built in Potomac Yards. However, neighborhood opposition stopped the project.
Snyder clearly likes doing business in Virginia. The team is based in Ashburn, and holds its training camp in Richmond. Why not play the games in Virginia?
In addition, taxes are lower in Virginia; the state will not give him and other executives moralizing lectures about the team’s name. In fact, far from moralizing on the name Virginia officials will actually proudly say Redskins!
Seems like a deal to build a stadium in the Old Dominion is a no brainer, so mutually beneficial that even Terry McAuliffe could not screw it up.
But, if the Redskins move to Virginia where would it be? My guess is the state would prefer it be somewhere other than Northern Virginia. Two reasons: traffic problems (I-66 is already a parking lot), and neighborhood and community opposition (think of Disney America, and the Redskins proposed move to Alexandria in the 1990’s).
It seems to me somewhere north of Richmond would be the best location for the state, say next to Kings Dominion in Doswell. Such a location, with the right financial inducements, could be agreeable to the Redskins. Heck, Hanover or Caroline county would probably pay to build the stadium.
Yes, Richmond is a small market, but in this day and age a pro sports team’s fan base is not limited to the city they plan in. In other words, if the Redskins play in Richmond their fan base really does not change. The fans will still be in the DC metro area.
Let me put it this way, as long as they keep the name Redskins their fans will, for the most part, remain. Whether the city name is Richmond or Washington is irrelevant. My father-in-law lives a mile from FedEx field, and he has never been to the stadium, but he is a diehard Redskins fan. If the team plays in Richmond will it matter? Probably not, he will continue to root for the burgundy and gold.
You may have a smaller crowd and stadium, which is already happening, but as long as the team has the same TV contracts and jersey sales their value will remain strong.
Let’s face it. Richmond Redskins just sounds better…It rolls off the tongue.