“A majority of the folks who go to the games, season-ticket holders, are from where? The Commonwealth of Virginia!” McAuliffe pointed out to an audience that included Redskins owner Daniel Snyder, team president Bruce Allen and 600 well-heeled supporters. “Sixty-six percent of the revenue to the Redskins comes from where? Residents of the Commonwealth of Virginia! Every player lives where? The Commonwealth of Virginia!”
After thanking the Redskins for being “a great economic driver” for the state, McAuliffe noted: “We have your headquarters! We have your training facility! What else could there possibly be?”
Redskins officials earlier this year hired Danish architecture firm Bjarke Ingels Group to design a new stadium, signaling their intent to leave FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland, and move elsewhere in the region. The team’s lease at FedEx Field doesn’t expire until 2027.
Snyder has been non-committal about his preference for a new home, keeping in play potential overtures from Maryland, the District and Virginia.
McAuliffe has reportedly proposed locations in Loudoun County along the unbuilt second leg of Metro’s Silver Line.
On Wednesday, McAuliffe was arguably the most bullish Redskins fan in attendance, predicting that the reigning NFC East champions would bring home the Super Bowl trophy this season. He also landed a few jabs at Maryland and the District, in talking up his state.
“They are going to win the Super Bowl this year,” McAuliffe said. “That Lombardi Trophy is going to sit in the main foyer of the governor’s mansion down in Richmond, Virginia, for a year.”
Then, addressing Snyder directly, McAuliffe reeled off demographics that would appeal to the CEO of any business weighing a relocation, citing Virginia’s 8.5 million population and its 3.7 percent unemployment. Then, for good measure, he threw in the fact that Virginia was home to eight U.S. presidents, 281 wineries and boasts 28 miles of oceanfront and had dolphins frolicking in the surf rather than sharks.
Turning to D.C. City Council member Jack Evans, McAuliffe said, “I’m sorry, Jack. You don’t have the oceanfront. I’m sorry.”
In closing, McAuliffe noted that Virginia counted more than 800,000 military veterans among its population — more veterans per capita than any state in U.S. — as well as the world’s largest naval base, 27 military installations and the Pentagon.
“So Dan, if you’re thinking,” McAuliffe said, “because you love our military, what a better way to honor our military, our veterans and active duty, than make an easy commute for them to go see a game with the Redskins? That’s all I’m going to say today.”