Virginia lawmakers again indicated that they are not currently interested in efforts to lure the Washington Commanders to the state, even as the team searches for a site to build a new stadium in the coming years.
Gov. Glenn Youngkin had proposed spending $500,000 to “conduct planning” and “evaluate potential economic incentives” related to the possible relocation of the Commanders, but that effort fell short in the Virginia Senate this week.
Senators decided to eliminate Youngkin’s plan and redirect the $500,000 to other priorities.
“The Senate is reallocating the money the governor was hoping to spend on the study,” said Stephen Farnsworth, a political science professor with the University of Mary Washington.
“For those hoping there would be a Commanders stadium in Virginia, this is a move in the wrong direction,” Farnsworth added.
The Commanders are contractually obligated to play at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland, until 2027.
For a period of time last year, there was bipartisan support for a plan to offer tax incentives and create a stadium authority that would oversee construction and financing of a new Commanders stadium in Virginia, though support eroded due to numerous investigations and controversies surrounding the team and its owner, Dan Snyder.
Snyder’s reputation has deteriorated further since then. A report published in December by the House Committee on Oversight and Reform claimed that the Commanders created a “toxic work culture” for more than two decades, “ignoring and downplaying sexual misconduct.”
D.C. also filed two civil lawsuits against the team — including one over what the D.C. attorney general called a scheme to cheat season-ticket holders out of money.
“At a minimum, the Virginia legislature has serious doubts about doing anything to support the Commanders as long as the current ownership is in place,” Farnsworth said.
Rumors about Snyder possibly selling the Commanders have been floating around, with Snyder recently hiring Bank of America Securities to explore selling part or all of the team he has owned since 1999.
The Commanders are worth an estimated $5.6 billion, according to Forbes.