Jun 17, 2022 - News

Richmond says goodbye to the Commanders

A football player catches a football at the Richmond training camp.
Adam Humphries catches a ball during the Washington Football Team training camp on July 29, 2021 in Richmond. Photo: Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

The Commanders won't be returning to Richmond this year for summer training camp.

What's happening: The team says the arrangement was more trouble than it was worth, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reports.

  • "The problem with the short period is it's not, from what I learned, it's not financially equitable," coach Ron Rivera told the paper. "Because you're there a short period of time, then you've got to move everything to set up again."

Context: In 2013, the city spent $11 million to build the team a two-field training center behind the Science Museum of Virginia.

  • The project was pitched as an economic development engine, but it was later revealed the city had agreed to pay the team $500,000 in cash and services annually for the privilege of hosting what, at the time, was one of the wealthiest NFL franchises.
  • When he campaigned for office in 2016, Mayor Levar Stoney criticized the payments and said he would not have agreed to the terms.

What they're saying: Stoney did not sound especially disappointed by the team's departure.

  • "We appreciated the team coming to Richmond last summer, and its contributions to the community, and we respect its decision to stay home," he told Axios in a statement.

What's next: The team plans to train in Ashburn, telling the Times-Dispatch that officials will decide on the location of future training camps on a "year-to-year" basis.

  • Stoney's press secretary, Jim Nolan, told Axios the city will continue booking events like concerts at the facility while exploring long-term options for the site.
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