Pair of Va. bills seek to finance football stadium, lure Washington Football Team

Two bills have been filed in the Virginia General Assembly aiming to lure the Washington Football Team to the commonwealth.

The nearly identical bills, submitted last week in the House and Senate, would establish a Virginia Football Stadium Authority, “charged with financing the construction of a football stadium and related facilities.”

In both bills, the authority would have nine members selected by the governor and subject to confirmation by the Assembly; four of those members would be from a list chosen by the team (presumably the WFT, though the bills don’t specify).

The authority would “hire independent contractors, enter contracts, acquire property, borrow money, and exercise other similar powers,” the bills read.

The Senate bill, introduced by Majority Leader Dick Saslaw, says bonds issued by the authority would have a maximum length of 40 years; the House bill, introduced by Del. Barry Knight, limits the length to 20 years. Knight’s bill dissolves the authority if there hasn’t been a lease agreement by July 1, 2025; Saslaw’s has no such provision.

Last week, Virginia Sen. Jeremy McPike said owner Dan Snyder and other team officials met with lawmakers to discuss possibilities, and said Loudoun and Prince William counties were likely candidates for a location.

McPike, speaking on 106.7 The Fan, said the plan was for a stadium to be part of an entertainment complex that could generate tax revenue.

“I’m not interested in paying for a stadium out of my tax dollars,” he said.

Virginia already has a Baseball Stadium Authority; in his first speech to the Assembly last week, Gov. Glenn Youngkin said, “Let’s broaden the Baseball Stadium Authority to include football, and perhaps we’ll get one of those too.”

The Washington Football Team practices in Ashburn, Virginia, and has played in Landover, Maryland, since 1997. The team’s lease in Landover ends in 2027.

Virginia is said to be the largest state in the U.S. without a team in the NFL, the NBA, the NHL or MLB.

Rick Massimo

Rick Massimo came to WTOP, and to Washington, in 2013 after having lived in Providence, R.I., since he was a child. He's the author of "A Walking Tour of the Georgetown Set" and "I Got a Song: A History of the Newport Folk Festival."

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