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Tuesday, April 23, 2024
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Commanders Are Cool Again With Fans and Politicians

  • Training camp practices drawing big crowds
  • Public-sector support grows for potential stadium project at RFK site
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

It’s now safe to be around and do business with the Washington Commanders.

For many years a deeply toxic franchise under former owner Dan Snyder, the recent $6.05 billion sale of the team to a group led by Josh Harris has prompted a rapid re-embrace by fans and politicians that now sets up to be one of the key storylines of the 2023 NFL season.

The opening of the Commanders’ training camp in Ashburn, Virginia, has attracted standing-room-only crowds, with a draw of 10,000 on Saturday representing the best such turnout for the team since 2015.

The crowds represented a resurgent show of fan support following the team’s precipitous fall from No. 1 to No. 32 in NFL home attendance over the course of the Snyder era.

What’s Old Is New Again

Meanwhile, D.C. mayor Muriel Bowser and several City Council members have expressed public support for a new Commanders stadium there, with the site of the team’s former home, RFK Stadium, emerging as a leading candidate.

This political backing also fundamentally differs from prior resistance leading to a years-long, unsuccessful pursuit by Snyder to develop a successor facility to FedEx Field, and adds to recently introduced federal legislation that would help turn the RFK site into a mixed-use development.

“We don’t want a lot of asphalt parking and one use. We want a lot of vibrancy,” Bowser told WJFK-FM. “We think that comes when you have a campus brought to life on days there isn’t a game. Having multiple uses is a high priority for us.”

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