Friday September 22, 2023
The Best Employers in Sports Survey is Now Open!

Congress May Clear Way for Commanders’ Return to RFK

  • Kentucky Republican looks to submit a proposal and has consulted with D.C. Mayor.
  • Maryland and Virginia still look to have the NFL franchise within their borders.
A general view of Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium Stadium.
Patrick McDermott-USA TODAY Sports
Front Office Sports Today

Could Promotion-Relegation work in College Football?

The proposal aims to create an exciting media product while reducing travel for non-football sports.
Listen Now
September 21, 2023 | Podcast
Copy Link
Link Copied
Link Copied

Congress’ legislative authority over D.C. — and the site of RFK Stadium in particular — is arguably the largest hurdle toward the city luring the Washington Commanders back to town. 

But Rep. James Comer (R-Kentucky) is getting closer to introducing legislation that would allow Washington to be a player in what is shaping up to be a three-way race to land the Commanders, House Oversight Committee spokesperson Austin Hacker confirmed to Front Office Sports. 

Under the bill that has yet to be finalized, the options include extending the lease currently set to expire in 2038. That lease between the National Park Service and D.C. restricts the use of the site to sports and recreation, which is currently tricky given RFK is still in the process of being torn down after closing in 2019. 

Comer, the Oversight Committee chair, has talked with D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser about the legislation. Bowser has been a vocal proponent of bringing the Commanders back to the District, and had talks with soon-to-be-former owner Dan Snyder, one source with knowledge of the talks told FOS. 

However, Snyder’s turbulent 24-year run as owner will conclude later this month. Josh Harris agreed to purchase the Commanders for a record $6.05 billion in May and is slated to be approved by NFL owners at a special meeting on July 20. 

Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, a member of the Oversight Committee who represents the D.C. in the House, introduced legislation in years past that would have given District control over the RFK site. That legislation never made it to the floor for a vote as she’s long fought for statehood for D.C.

“Although Chairman Comer has demonstrated his enthusiasm for meddling with D.C. in his committee’s recent hearings, he is not a D.C. resident and he does not represent D.C. in Congress,” Norton said in a statement to FOS. “While I appreciate his interest in D.C., it’s time the land where RFK sits was in the hands of local officials elected by D.C. residents, since they will be most heavily impacted by decisions about use of the land.”

The Washington Post was the first outlet to report on the potential legislation. 

The Commadres departed RFK Stadium after the 1996 season for the team’s current home, FedEx Field, in Landover, Md. The Commanders’ lease to operate FedEx Field expires in 2027, although it’s likely to be renewed annually until a new home for the Commanders is completed. 

While Bouser is a proponent of a new Commanders stadium at the RFK site, DC Council Chair Phil Mendelson isn’t. In fact, Mendelson added an amendment to the city’s budget last month that extended a provision that prevents The Washington Convention and Sports Authority from using public funding for a Commanders stadium. 

Even before Harris finalized a deal to purchase the Commanders in May, FOS reported Magic Johnson — who is among 20 limited partners in the ownership group — met with Maryland Gov. Wes Moore. 

“The Commanders have called Prince George’s County home for 25 years, and Gov. Wes Moore is committed to continuing this long-standing partnership,” Carter Elliott, Moore’s press secretary, wrote on Twitter.

Meanwhile, Virginia lawmakers are seeking not to be left behind. 

Gov. Glenn Youngkin is expected to introduce legislation to study a stadium authority this summer. However, a special session where a bill would be debated and voted on still hasn’t been scheduled. 

Virginia was the only one of the three jurisdictions serious about luring the Commanders’ next stadium with public funding. But with multiple investigations into Snyder, ongoing at the time, legislation that would have provided about $300 million in public funding was shelved in June 2022. 

Copy Link
Link Copied
Link Copied

What to Read

Fanatics is buying auction marketplace PWCC.

Fanatics Nabbing WWE Rights In Latest Win Over Panini

Fanatics will take over WWE's trading card rights.

RFK Stadium Bill Advances in Congress

Congress' vote is the first step towards returning the NFL to D.C.

Can Amazon Keep Up NFL Viewership Boost After Record Week 1?

The San Francisco 49ers and New York Giants face off on Thursday night.
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott is tripped up by New York Jets defensive end Solomon Thomas in the second quarter at AT&T Stadium.

NFL Viewership Sees 2% Increase in First Two Weeks of 2023 Season

The NFL is experiencing its highest viewership since 2018.
podcast thumbnail mobile
Front Office Sports Today

Could Promotion-Relegation work in College Football?


Featured Today

Teams without secured venue situations could be left out of a potential XFL-USFL merger.

XFL-USFL Merger Could Drop Teams, Change League Name

Teams without secured venues could be cut from a XFL-USFL merger.
September 21, 2023

Rupert Murdoch's Exit Leaves Lasting Fox Sports Legacy

Rupert Murdoch steps down as chairman of Fox Corp. and News Corp.
Could ESPN lose events such as the NBA Finals if it sold ABC.
September 21, 2023

Selling ABC Poses Billion-Dollar Dilemma for Disney and ESPN's Future

Losing ABC would create complications as ESPN enters NBA rights negotiations.
Boise State Broncos running back Ashton Jeanty (2) runs the ball against the North Dakota Fighting Hawks during the first half at Albertsons Stadium.
September 20, 2023

The First Official Proposal for Promotion-Relegation In College Football

Realignment is forcing Group of 5 schools to rethink their structure.


Powered By

Careers in Sports

Looking for a new job? Check out these featured listings and search for openings all over the world.
Chicago Cubs
New York
Tri Star Sports and Entertainment Group, Inc.
USA - Multiple Locations

U.S. Cricket Ambitions Get Big-Time Boost

ICC to stage major tournament in New York, Dallas, and Miami
September 19, 2023

Saudi Pro League Has Long Way To Go Despite Spending Spree

The league's revenue still trails far behind its European counterparts.
September 19, 2023

Latest NFL-NFLPA Drama Spotlights Fake Injury Accusations

The NFL has alleged that the NFLPA told running backs to fake injuries.
The Rock’s XFL and the Fox-owned USFL are expected to combine into one spring football league.
September 19, 2023

XFL, USFL Reportedly Expected to Merge Before 2024 Season

Disney and Fox reportedly will likely split the combined league's broadcasts.
Commissioner Jessica Berman expects the NWSL to reach 16 teams in 2026 with two expansion clubs.
September 18, 2023

NWSL Reportedly Taps Boston For Expansion Team Beginning in 2026

New club set to begin play in 2026
September 18, 2023

NFL Prioritizes Minority Representation Amid Ownership Changes

The league does not have a majority team owner who is Black.
Chelsea player Guro Reiten completes pass during game
September 18, 2023

How WSL Plans to Become First $1B Women's Soccer League

England's top women's competition has ambitious goals.
September 18, 2023

MLB Expansion Potentially Draws Closer With Rays Ballpark Deal

Rays' stadium deal looks to solve long-running problem for MLB