Prince George's County

Prince George’s Vies for Redskins’ Affection

Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker III is a die-hard Washington Redskins fan — and he has at least 6 million reasons to keep his beloved burgundy and gold in the county.

The county is projected to receive $6 million in tax revenue generated by the eight Redskins home games this year at FedEx Field in Landover, money that Baker said is as important to the county as the team itself.

“It is not just having a team here [and] not just having a stadium here,” he said. “It’s really about having the ability of economic development that’s spread around that team being here.”

Baker led a “Redskins Rally” on Sept. 7 in front of the county administration building in Upper Marlboro, five days before Washington’s first regular season game and home opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Redskins cheerleaders and the team’s play-by-play announcer Larry Michael participated in the rally. Former Redskin punt returner and county resident Ken Jenkins also showed up along with dozens of other faithful Redskin fans for the event, which was part of “Redskins Kickoff Week.”

But Prince George’s isn’t the team’s only suitors in the region. A similar rally was held Sept. 10 in Ashburn, Virginia, just a short distance from Redskins Park, the team’s headquarters.

Julie Miner Dillon, vice president of marketing for One Loudoun, a burgeoning 358-acre residential and business community, said that Redskins officials contacted the company to host the rally, but declined to comment on the possibility of the team coming to Virginia.

“We love having the rally here,” she said minutes before it started. “As One Loudoun grows, we continue to just evolve.”

Although the team has been in Prince George’s since 1997 when late Redskins owner Jack Kent Cooke relocated the team from the District, current owner Daniel Snyder said in an interview on Comcast SportsNet on Sept. 1 he wants a new stadium. It would resemble RFK Stadium in Southeast, the Redskins’ former home, he said.

The lease in Landover expires in 2027.

A Redskins spokesman said in an email Sept. 9 the team’s focus remained on the opening game against Pittsburgh.

Virginia Gov. Terry McAullife visited the team’s training camp last month in Richmond and didn’t hide his feelings about the Redskins coming to his state.

“I view this as a Virginia team,” McAuliffe said on ESPN 980 AM. “I know they’re in Maryland right now. But a majority of the season ticket holders are Virginians, all the players live in Virginia, we have all of [the practice] facilities. … We’re in very serious negotiations, as I assume other jurisdictions are. Listen, we would love to have them.”

In Prince George’s, the Redskins help fuel the county’s economic engine. Besides the $6 million tax projection, an additional $750,000 to $1.5 million could be generated if the team makes the playoffs and host one or more home games, Carl Smith, marketing director of the county’s Conference and Visitors Bureau, said in an email.

Smith said the Redskins also help bring in thousands of dollars from indirect revenue such as overnight stays at local hotels, shopping and dining.

According to a document from the bureau, the county’s projected to receive more than $17 million from the admissions and amusement tax this year, putting Redskins’ estimated contribution at nearly 35 percent.

Baker said future projects such as a mixed-used development with 4,340 residential units, a 653-room hotel and businesses near Largo Town Center Metro station will entice the Redskins to remain in Prince George’s.

“All of the things [Redskins officials] are going to look for in terms of fan experience … to come before and after a game, they are going to find right here,” he said. “Downtown Largo will give them the urban type of atmosphere they want.”

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William J. Ford – Washington Informer Staff Writer

I decided I wanted to become a better writer while attending Bowie State University and figured that writing for the school newspaper would help. I’m not sure how much it helped, but I enjoyed it so much I decided to keep on doing it, which I still thoroughly enjoy 20 years later. If I weren’t a journalist, I would coach youth basketball. Actually, I still play basketball, or at least try to play, once a week. My kryptonite is peanut butter. What makes me happy – seeing my son and two godchildren grow up. On the other hand, a bad call made by an official during a football or basketball game makes me throw up my hands and scream. Favorite foods include pancakes and scrambled eggs which I could eat 24-7. The strangest thing that’s ever happened to me, or more accurately the most painful, was when I was hit by a car on Lancaster Avenue in Philadelphia. If I had the power or money to change the world, I’d make sure everyone had three meals a day. And while I don’t have a motto or favorite quote, I continue to laugh which keeps me from driving myself crazy. You can reach me several ways: Twitter @jabariwill, Instagram will_iam.ford2281 or e-mail, wford@washingtoninformer.com

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