Shortly after the legendary American football team was renamed in February 2022, there were numerous reports saying that the Commanders could possibly move from Maryland, where they currently play their games, to Virginia. Which state will eventually get its way?
Washington Commanders is a team with 90 years of history in the National Football League. Not only has the franchise moved from the city to city several times, but earlier this year it changed its name once again. For 82 years, starting in 1937 until 2019, the club was called the Washington Redskins. Due to widespread controversy in the United States over Native American mascots, the term redskin was defined as offensive and disparaging.
The club temporarily changed its name to the Washington Football Team and once it adopted the ‘Commanders’ nomenclature it began to think about the next step - moving to another facility. 2 years ago we even reported that the three-time Super Bowl winners could decide on their new location based on sports betting. Can you imagine if every fan in the stadium received a 200 casino bonus at every match?
Since 1994, the team has been playing its games at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland, in the Washington DC metropolitan area. As the area of District of Columbia, in which the capital of the United States is located, is relatively small, the team has had to play outside its city for 28 years.
Between 2004 and 2010, the Commanders (then Redskins) venue boasted the largest stadium seating capacity in the entire NFL. It wasn't long before capacity was reduced from 92,000 to 82,000 seats and it was necessary to acknowledge the superiority of MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford.
Even before the whole scandal related to the change of name, there was public talk about the desire to move to a new facility. In 2016, Bjarke Ingels Group even prepared a visualisation of the new 60,000-seat Redskins Stadium, which would be built in Oxon Hill in the southeastern suburbs of Washington.
Six years on from those events, it seems that the favourite to 'take over' Commanders is the nearby state of Virginia. The team is considering three sites in Virginia: one in Loudoun County and two in Prince William County. As of now, talks are ongoing and it is unclear which state they will ultimately play in. In the area of interest remains also Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium in Washington, D.C., where the franchise played from 1961 to 1996.
The Commanders are contractually obligated to play at FedEx Field until 2027, after which they can stay or look for another home. However, it appears that the days of the current stadium are numbered and a move to a new facility will be necessary for the team's fresh start. Who will ultimately win the "battle" for an NFL team: Maryland, Virginia, or maybe.... Washington itself?