Feb 29, 2024 - News

FedEx Field loses its name as RFK Stadium bill passes House

The FedExField sign on the exterior of the stadium

A FedEx-less field. Photo: Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

D.C.'s hopes of transforming the former RFK Stadium took a big step Wednesday when the House approved a bill expanding the city's authority of the 190-acre federal site.

The big picture: Lawmakers from both parties talked about the promise of turning the decrepit former stadium into a neighborhood and entertainment district — and potentially a new football stadium.

  • The Senate will now take it up as D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser competes with Maryland and Virginia to attract the Washington Commanders.
  • Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton said the development could echo projects at The Wharf and Navy Yard.

Meanwhile, FedEx dropped its sponsorship of FedEx Field on Wednesday, exiting the deal two years early.

  • It deprives the Commanders of $15 million in revenue, and leaves the stadium in Landover, Md., in search of a new name, the Washington Post reports.

Catch up fast: D.C. has been waiting for Congress to pass the bill so that it can craft a redevelopment plan. A partnership between Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.), who chairs the Oversight Committee, and D.C. Democrats carried the bill over the line.

  • It gives D.C. a 99-year lease of the site and opens it up for commercial and residential development.
  • D.C. will be on the hook for any remediation of environmental costs, and 30% of the land will be reserved for recreation. It also prohibits construction along the waterfront.

Zoom in: D.C.'s top two leaders don't yet see eye-to-eye on a new stadium. But Bowser and D.C. Council chair Phil Mendelson co-signed a letter Wednesday to Democratic House leadership supporting the bill.

  • Mendelson's "position is that there's no money for it right now … so all of that is hypothetical," his spokesperson Lindsey Walton told Axios.
  • Both support "activating this long-underutilized property to become a center for recreation, entertainment, and economic opportunity," the letter says.

What we're watching: The bill is going to the Senate, where Maryland legislators could raise concerns with the bill. In the House, Rep. Glenn Ivey said it gave D.C. an "unfair" advantage in drawing the team away from his home state.

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