Sunday December 3, 2023

D.C. Plans To Upgrade RFK Stadium Site, NFL Team or Not

  • The mayor of Washington, D.C., is planning to improve the area around Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium.
  • Upgrades will be made regardless of where the NFL’s Washington Commanders decide to build a new stadium.
Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports/Design: Alex Brooks
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The mayor of Washington, D.C., is planning to improve the area around Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium — regardless of where the NFL’s Washington Commanders decide to build a new stadium. 

RFK Stadium, which closed in 2019, has been the host of several marquee sporting events including MLB All-Star Games and World Cup matches. It was home to the Washington Redskins from 1961 to 1996, and D.C. United also called it home from the MLS team’s debut in 1996 until 2017.

Mayor Muriel Bowser has expressed interest in the Commanders returning to the nation’s capital, but the team has explored developments in Virginia and at the site of the team’s current home, FedEx Field, in Maryland. 

Regardless of where the Commanders end up, RFK Stadium is expected to be demolished. 

  • A proposal of $60 million to build a new recreation center has been submitted. 
  • Plans for the facility include an indoor track, pool, and space for gymnastics.
  • If the budget is approved, construction of the complex could take up to five years. 

Competition for a new stadium is fierce. Virginia has offered the Commanders $1 billion and a cut of sales tax revenue to play games there. Maryland, where the team currently plays, is also offering hundreds of millions of dollars to keep them.


Owned by the federal government, RFK Stadium’s current lease runs through 2036 and requires the land to be used for sports and entertainment purposes, unless Congress relinquishes the property to the city.

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