Let it go: Washington Redskins and Virginia
*" Let it Go" is one of the songs from the movie "Frozen," for six months or more, the little girls next door took every opportunity to sing the song, the littlest, then maybe 16 months, used to sing it as "'et it go." We use that phrase around the house now when we're talking about how we should react to things out of our control.
The media ("Tug of war for new Redskins stadium is complicated by name debate" Washington Post) has reported that the State of Virginia is talking with the Redskins and offering them sites in far western suburbs. The team already has its practice facility and headquarters in Ashburn, Virginia and recently relocated its summer camp to Richmond, Virginia.
While I still don't favor public financing of stadiums and arenas for professional sports teams unless the government ("the people") get a financial participation interest in the increased value a team gets from new facilities (see "Stadiums and arenas as enabling infrastructure"), I am coming around some on the value of sports teams in terms of intra-metropolitan competition for attractions, anchors, branding, etc.
However, some types of sports teams are much better at having a local financial return than others ("American City Business Journals calculates the capacity of North American metropolitan areas to support new/additional professional sports teams"). Generally, American football teams and their stadiums don't seem to provide much spillover benefit to community-urban revitalization.
So I can't see much economic benefit for cities in seeking a football stadium, notwithstanding the current events in Greater Los Angeles involving the St. Louis Rams, Oakland Raiders, and San Diego Chargers--all teams trying to get their home cities to build new stadiums.
Can you name an area around a football stadium that has improved as a result of it? I can't. At least, not thinking about stadiums in DC/Maryland--both the Redskins and the Baltimore Ravens; the Philadelphia Eagles, or the Meadowlands complex in New Jersey,just to name a few.
There are a few reasons for this. First, the stadiums cost so much to build. For example, the stadium for the Dallas Cowboys cost $1.2 billion.
Second, that means football stadiums cost a lot to finance and this typically puts a huge financial burden on local and state governments who end up financing them. The under construction stadium for the Minnesota Vikings will cost over $1 billion, with about half coming from the State of Minnesota and the City of Minneapolis, split 2/3 - 1/3 between the two).. The new Levi Stadium for the San Francisco 49'ers ended up costing about $1.3 billion, with much of the financing by a public authority.
Third, football stadiums host few events, maybe 12 to 20 including practice games and other events. A baseball stadium holds at least 82 events, and an arena shared by basketball and hockey teams can have almost as many.
Fourth, most people drive to football games, which taxes the infrastructure in ways that stadiums where people can use transit do not. And they need a lot of land for parking lots, which isn't used most of the year.
By contrast an urban baseball stadium or arena served by transit needs a lot less parking, and every site not used as a parking lot can be used for buildings and other uses.
And now that arena projects are being expanded into mixed use districts, such facilities in center cities have great revitalization potential compared to single use facilities.