Commanders ‘acquire land’ for potential stadium in Virginia

The Washington Commanders NFL team has reportedly paid more than $100m (£80m/€93m) for a parcel of land in Virginia that could house a new stadium as part of a wide-ranging sports and entertainment district.

The 200-acre plot of land is based Woodbridge, Prince William County, with a source telling ESPN that the site is the Commanders’ preferred option for a new stadium, although other possibilities remain open.

The stadium would anchor a large-scale development that would also include the team’s headquarters, an amphitheatre with capacity for 15,000 to 20,000 guests, and retail and office space. Renderings obtained by the Richmond Times-Dispatch newspaper include designs for a 60,000-seat domed stadium with a translucent roof.

The Commanders currently play at FedExField in Prince George’s County, Maryland, and the team has a contract to remain at the stadium until 2027. The team has been exploring options for a new home, with Virginia – the site of its training base and headquarters – and the District of Columbia having been linked as potential locations.

In February, the State of Virginia pressed forward with efforts to attract the Commanders to a proposed stadium complex valued at around $3bn and it was later reported that the team was considering one site in Loudoun County and two in Prince William County for a proposed “mini-city”. The Loudoun County site would be located near a quarry in Sterling, while the Prince William County sites are based on the I-95 in Woodbridge and near the Potomac Shores Golf Club in Dumfries.

The Woodbridge site now appears to have emerged as the frontrunner, but ESPN notes that the Commanders’ purchase of the land has not been filed with Prince William County. The Washington Post has also reported that the Commanders have only acquired the right to purchase the land, and not yet bought the site outright.

Last month, the State of Maryland put forward a $400m funding package for a sports entertainment facility and wider infrastructure projects in the area surrounding FedExField, but will not commit public funds to a new stadium for the Commanders.

The Commanders moved to FedExField in 1997. In February, Commanders president Jason Wright insisted that the team would be playing in a new venue in 2027 amid continued speculation over the future home of the franchise.

Washington D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser also released a statement at the time, saying that the team’s next chapter should be “a return to winning, right here in DC”.

The Commanders played at the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium in D.C. from 1961 to 1996, before moving to the newly-built FedExField the following season.

Image: Anders Krøgh Jørgensen on Unsplash