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Prospectus for Commanders’ Likely New Owner “believes Virginia will offer the best incentive package — potentially up to $1.5 billion” for New Stadium. Hell No.

Ideally, any new stadium should be built without public subsidies, near Metro and in the region's "urban core" (aka, the RFK site)

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About the only things to say to this news are “no,” “absolutely no” and “hell no.”

According to a prospectus prepared by Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment and its advisers and obtained by ESPN, [Josh Harris, the Philadelphia 76ers co-owner who announced an exclusive deal to purchase the Washington Commanders for $6.05 billion] predicts that the removal of Dan Snyder as owner will boost attendance, ticket sales and sponsorship revenue, as well as the team’s prospects for a new stadium. Commanders leadership “believes Virginia will offer the best incentive package — potentially up to $1.5 billion” for a new home, the document shows. That sum would nearly double the American-record $750 million in public funds the state of Nevada put toward a new Raiders stadium in 2017.

Although those in league circles and many fans have hoped for a new venue at the site of Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium, just east of the Capitol in Washington, the Harris document predicts Virginia will offer the best incentives for a new building, up to $1.5 billion. That figure is multiple times more than what had been discussed among Virginia politicians in 2022.

By March of last year, the Virginia House and Senate had passed a stadium bill. But lawmakers underestimated the public outcry after a February congressional roundtable at the U.S. Capitol, where five women who had been Commanders employees described numerous allegations of sexual misconduct, against the team’s former senior executives and against Snyder himself. The bill died in the legislature’s conference committee because its sponsors couldn’t whip the votes to send it to the governor.

So, as I wrote last September:

Any new “Commanders” stadium should be near the urban core (preferably in DC), obviously near Metro, and without a penny in taxpayer-funded corporate welfare to Dan Snyder’s lucrative business.

The same applies now, even if Snyder’s gone: 1) the new stadium should be in the urban core (preferably DC, presumably the RFK site); 2) it should absolutely BE WITHIN EASY WALKING DISTANCE of a Metrorail stop; 3) it should NOT be heavily subsidized – or preferably subsidized at all – by taxpayers (let alone to the tune of $1.5 billion!). Also, as Del. Danica Roem stated last year, “No matter who’s in charge of the organization, an NFL stadium (let alone a taxpayer funded one) does not belong along I-95 in Prince William County.” Also, check out this recent tweet by Sen. Dave Marsden (D-Fairfax), which says:

“As Senate Chair of Economic Development & Natural Resources, I met with Dan Snyder in 2021 and told him ‘no state funds for a stadium.’ Those deals work out great for the billionaire, not so much for the taxpayers. I also said that it was time for new ownership, glad to see this.”

Exactly. As this article explains, “in an analysis published earlier [in 2022], researchers from Kennesaw State University, University of Maryland, Baltimore County and West Virginia University found that over a 30-year period, the local economic development from sports teams and venues didn’t offset the public investment provided to build them.” And as this report by Brookings found:

A new sports facility has an extremely small (perhaps even negative) effect on overall economic activity and employment. No recent facility appears to have earned anything approaching a reasonable return on investment. No recent facility has been self-financing in terms of its impact on net tax revenues. Regardless of whether the unit of analysis is a local neighborhood, a city, or an entire metropolitan area, the economic benefits of sports facilities are de minimus.”

So yeah…just say no to subsidizing billionaires for football stadiums, let alone to the tune of $1.5 billion in Virginia taxpayers’ money.

P.S. For more on this topic, see this post, which lists some top-rated Washington Post comments on why lavishing billions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies on billionaires, let alone in a way that aggravates traffic, makes no sense. For instance:

#1-rated comment: “And who is to pay for this stadium that will hold only 10 events per year and cost at least $1 billion? It better not be Virginia or any government source for that matter. There are other priorities such as education and transportation.

#2-rated comment: “If Dan Snyder is willing to pay 100% of costs involved (including land), there should be no problem.  If Dan Snyder is unwilling to pay, BIG PROBLEM.”

#3-rated comment: “I am adamantly opposed to spending ANY tax $ to bring the team to VA. It is past time for tax payers anywhere to be subsidizing major league teams. The owners are rich enough already. I am also opposed to bringing the team to Loudoun County. We have enough traffic already, and don’t need Sundays screwed up too.”

#5-rated comment: “You’ve GOT to be kidding me! Where in Virginia do you think you could put a stadium that could handle the traffic? South on I-95? West on I-66? Nobody will be able to see the game. They’ll be sitting in gridlocked traffic. ”

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