In Washington, DC, a place where thoughts are plentiful and rationales are not, local politicians are trying to figure out what to do with the property that presently houses the old stadium that opened in 1962 that won’t be needed anymore. The place actually is rather significant in the history of the civil rights movement because it was a National Football League’s battleground as the Kennedy administration forced the National Football League’s local franchise owner George Preston Marshall to desegregate his team if he wanted his team to use the building. RFK stadium will see the wrecking ball in 2018.
So what should Washington city leaders do? There has been some chatter about bringing George Preston Marshall’s old football team which is now in Daniel Snyder’s hands back to the District after years of exile in nearby Landover, Maryland. Snyder is apparently open to the idea. Not only is the football notion being kicked around but additionally there is a thought that the land might be big enough to also put up and arena for the NBA’s Wizards, the NHL’s Capitals and the WNBA’s Mystics along with all of the other arena offerings. The present Washington arena is 19 years old and you know what sports owners think about 19-year-old venues, they are getting old and lifespans of arenas and stadiums are just not that long anymore. In Washington, there have been significant investments in a baseball stadium and new a soccer facility which is scheduled to open in 2018. So it probably is time to start thinking about the next round of sports spending now that there is nothing on the table and there seems to be no pressure on politicians for a new football facility or arena in Washington. Washington politicians seem to feel it is in the public interest to make sure sports owners get what they want which is to have the newest and best facilities available.
Republished with permission Evan Weiner for The Politics of Sports Business.