VA legislature passes bills for Commanders stadium project


The Virginia State legislature passed two bills this week, gaining momentum toward building a pro football stadium and commercial complex for the Washington Commanders.

There was bipartisan support for this particular project, according to a Washington Post story. The Republican-controlled House of Delegates passed a bill to create a "football stadium authority" that would oversee the construction and financing of a new stadium and retail/entertainment complex in the surrounding area. 

The Democrat-controlled Senate's bill is similar but contains key differences from the House's. The House's bill will need to be passed by the Senate and vice versa. If that happens, the Virginia General Assembly would then run a conference committee to negotiate the final version of the bill. After that, it would go to Governor Glenn Youngkin for approval. 

If made into law, the football stadium authority would be able to sell bonds to help fund a $1 billion stadium. The Commanders would need to invest roughly $2 billion to complete the commercial complex aspect of the project. 

Comparing the two bills, both would provide a revenue stream for the Commanders by allowing them to take 2% of the sales tax on items sold within the commercial complex. 

Where they differ is the Senate's bill would provide an additional revenue stream where the team would be able to recapture a percentage of the state's income tax on players and executives. Furthermore, the House's bill would require the team to pay at least 50% of its stadium naming-rights deal to the authority until the state's bonds used to fund the stadium are paid off. The Senate would let the Commanders keep all of the profits from a future naming rights deal, the Post reports. 

In late January, Virginia State Sen. Jeremy McPike (D-29) alluded to "serious discussions" going on between the team and the state regarding a new stadium in the commonwealth. Governor Youngkin has also expressed support for the Commanders to come to the commonwealth. 

Virginia isn't the only state vying to house the NFL franchise. Washington D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser most recently made the case for the team to return to D.C. after its new name announcement. The Commanders' lease to play at FedEx Field in Landover, MD expires in 2027. 

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