Maryland won’t enter bidding war to keep commanders, says Hogan

FedEx Field in Landover, home of the Washington National Football League team since 1997. Photo by Bruce DePuyt.

Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. suggested on Tuesday that Washington commanders take on Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia in pursuit of a new stadium deal — and he said his state would not participate in a bidding war.

Speaking to reporters at the State House, the governor seemed irritated with how commanders opted for the most lucrative financial package.

“I think they’re using everyone back and forth, like they’ve been doing for eight years,” Hogan (R) said. “They’re negotiating, trying to pit everyone against each other, but we’re not going to get into a bidding war for them. And we’re not going to offer $1.2 billion to build the stadium for them.

“If Virginia wants to do this, and they [the Commanders] want to go to Virginia, I would say good luck,” he added.

The team has played at FedEx Field in Landover since 1997, but representatives for team owner Dan Snyder are in talks with political leaders across the capital region about a new facility. His vision is for the club’s next stadium to be part of a mini city of arts, entertainment and sport that would attract customers all year round. As a rule, National Football League stadiums remain empty for most of the year.

Hogan’s comments come amid a flurry of private conversations in Annapolis and elsewhere about the team’s future. Officials stress that no incentive to keep the team in Maryland is imminent, nor is it clear what it would take to stop the commanders from leaving. Virginia’s General Assembly adjourned Saturday without approving an incentive package — or a state budget.

Shortly after the governor’s speech, Prince George’s County Executive Angela D. Alsobrooks (D) urged the House Appropriations Committee to include resources for her jurisdiction in two bills that would renovate the park Oriole and M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, the homes of the Major League Baseball Orioles. and the NFL Ravens, respectively.

House Bill 896 would increase the Maryland Stadium Authority’s bonding authority by $1.2 billion, to be split equally between the two venues. According to Summary of the baseball stadiumThe Orioles and MSA “share a vision of a renovation [of] Oriole Park with new social spaces, new rest areas for smaller groups and a sportsbook. The Ravens are also considering renovations for their facility.

Both clubs would likely sign lease extensions if the stadium upgrades were approved.

House Bill 897 would establish a Sports Entertainment Facilities Fund to facilitate the construction and renovation of Baltimore’s existing stadiums and, potentially, other sports, entertainment and cultural venues across the state.

“This sports complex is an important source of entertainment, jobs, tourism and revenue for our city and our state, but also a deep sense of pride and unity for our city and our state,” said the mayor. of Baltimore, Brandon M. Scott (D), to lawmakers. “It is extremely important to ensure that the resort is not just renovated, but redesigned for the continued enjoyment of all of our residents and visitors.”

In her testimony, Alsobrooks emphasized that she supports upgrades to professional sports venues in Baltimore. But she said Prince George deserved ‘fairness’ and suggested the county was ‘left behind’ when the Stadium Authority split stadium funding in the 1990s.

The County’s long-term relationship with Commanders depends not only on a “continued physical presence” but also on the creation of “a mixed-use stadium district that provides sports and entertainment, recreation and amenities. all year round,” she said.

Alsobrooks and his predecessor, Rushern L. Baker III (D), sought to build a “downtown” in the Landover/Largo area centered around a new University of Maryland Medical System hospital, buildings county government and a private development.

At a time when sports teams are obsessed with the “fan experience,” COs are keen not to repeat the mistakes they made with the team’s current hard-to-reach stage, which looks like many reviews to a spacecraft perched on a hill. Fans have also complained that it was cheaply built.

The team’s next stadium will likely be much smaller, in line with changing trends, with around 62,000 seats compared to the 91,000 FedEx had when it opened. Snyder’s desire is to have a stadium with an outdoor feel, places for fans to congregate, and high-quality WiFi to facilitate sports betting.

WUSA-TV reported last month that research had been conducted on three potential stadium sites in Northern Virginia. The commanders headquarters is in Ashburn, Va., and the team holds its pre-season training in Richmond.

Members of the Virginia General Assembly discussed legislation to create a stadium authority and commit up to $350 million to a new stadium/entertainment district, but lawmakers adjourned Saturday without taking action.

Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin (right) told Maryland Matters on Monday that the state ‘will not do anything that is not in the interest of the taxpayer and that our legislature has work to do here’ .

“But I would love to have them here if we could get a good deal,” he added.

Hogan stressed that he wants to keep Maryland’s top three pro teams — the Commanders, Ravens and Orioles.

In 2018, the governor discussed a possible land swap with the United States Department of the Interior to secure a possible site for a stadium. The state hoped to acquire Oxon Cove, a woodlot near the Woodrow Wilson Bridge, in exchange for land in western Maryland.. Oxon Hill residents and elected leaders expressed concerns about the proposal, and state talks with the federal government broke down.

Laura J. Boyer