Youngkin Succeeds Where McAuliffe Failed: Washington Commanders Make Major Move Toward Virginia Stadium

Glenn Youngkin (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
May 23, 2022

Just four months into Republican governor Glenn Youngkin's (R.) tenure, the Washington Commanders bought land in Virginia for a possible stadium move—a development that Youngkin's Democratic predecessors failed to accomplish in eight years.

According to ESPN, the Commanders paid roughly $100 million for a potential stadium site in Northern Virginia's Prince William County. The move comes shortly after Youngkin met with owner Dan Snyder to discuss moving the NFL franchise to the Old Dominion. "Virginia should be the best place in America to live and raise a family, and maybe it's the best place in America to have a professional football team, too," Youngkin said in February.

Youngkin's liberal predecessors also attempted to lure the team to Virginia, but none made it as far as the former Carlyle Group executive. 

Former governor Terry McAuliffe (D.), who lost to Youngkin in November, spent years lobbying Snyder to move the then-Redskins to Virginia and even claimed to be in "very serious negotiations" with the franchise in 2016. Fellow Democratic governor Ralph Northam also floated Northern Virginia as a stadium site and encouraged Snyder to make the move. But neither Democrat managed to secure the historic land buy seen under Youngkin.

The Commanders are likely to leave FedEx Field in the coming years—their contract to play at the Maryland stadium expires in 2026. The franchise's Virginia stadium plan reportedly includes a 60,000-seat domed stadium, a 20,000-seat amphitheater, an indoor music venue, and an array of bars, restaurants, and residential living. Snyder is also looking at land in Northern Virginia's Loudoun County, according to ESPN.