Redskins want a piece of 2026 World Cup

Brian Tinsman
June 14, 2018 - 10:07 pm
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Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

With news of North America's winning bid to host the 2026 World Cup, it should come as no surprise that owners of venues of an appropriate size (at least 68,000 seats) are interested in showcasing their stadiums for play.

Count the Washington Redskins in.

"We have talked about it and we plan on competing," new team Chief Operating Officer Brian Lafemina told the media on Wednesday. "Right now we are evaluating different options. I will say that we will have more to come in the future but there is really nothing new other than what has been publicly announced."

D.C. is one of 23 North American cities identified by the Washington Business Journal as having a stadium large enough to meet requirements.

The only question is if that will still be true in eight years.

The current stadium is outside of downtown Washington, D.C., in Prince George's County, Md. The current listed capacity is 82,000, making it comfortably above what FIFA is looking for in a stadium. However, the stadium has decreased by nearly 10,000 seats since 2010, as NFL stadiums have aired towards the smaller, more engaged audience.

The Redskins' lease on the land where FedExField sits is set to expire in 2027, one year after the World Cup tournament. In order to compete for and host a World Cup game, the stadium will almost certainly need upgrades, which could be publicly financed through the public-private partnership with Events D.C., Destination D.C. and D.C. United. If the cost falls on the Redskins, it could be tempting to change the timeline around the team's lease in Landover, Md.

It would also likely make a difference where the team builds its next stadium, be that in downtown D.C., elsewhere in P.G. County, or perhaps suburban Virginia. Metrorail access would be a major factor in moving large World Cup crowds, but that is not something that the current stadium allows.

Regardless, the Redskins have the only stadium worth considering in the D.C. area, with Nationals Park and Capital One Arena both being far too small to consider.

Economic impact studies around large sporting events are notoriously inaccurate, but U.S. Soccer has predicted "approximately $160 million to $620 million in incremental economic activity. That translates to a net benefit of approximately $90 million to $480 million per city after accounting for potential public costs."

There would also be an economic benefit to the owners of the stadium used, which is why Dan Snyder and Lafemina are putting D.C. forward early in the process.

 

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