O’Dell Says No Decision On NFL Stadium at RFK

Events DC CEO says focus is on short term plans for site

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Events DC Staff listen to a question from a Ward 6 resident. O'Dell is seated furthest to the right.

At the RFK City-Wide Redevelopment Meeting held Wednesday evening at St. Luke’s Parish (4925 E. Capitol St. SE), Events DC President and CEO Gregory A. O’Dell said that he could not make a public statement opposing the use of public funds for an NFL Stadium as the District agency considered redevelopment plans for the site.

The comments came after O’Dell noted that work had been done on a preliminary long-term vision for the site that included different anchor tenants. The three possible scenarios formulated included one with a football stadium, another incorporating a 20,000-seat arena, and a third possibility with neither of those. That long-term process has been temporarily suspended, O’Dell said, in favor of a focus on the short-term elements that the community, city and region could enjoy more immediately.

Discussion of a potential NFL stadium was a topic of discussion again in part after a petition was circulated earlier that week by the Sports and Entertainment Division (SED) of Events DC. SED had circulated a petition seeking support for redevelopment plans for the site.

On Monday, Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) Commissioner Denise Krepp (6B10) noted in a Twitter post that she had spoken with two representatives circulating the petition as she exited the metro. Krepp wrote that the “first one [representative] said I was signing to bring back NFL. Second one claimed that wasn’t purpose of the signatures.”

Reached for comment prior to the Wednesday meeting, a representative of Events DC said that the purpose of the petition was to incite citywide support and excitement for the RFK Redevelopment Project.

“Our representatives were not encouraged to present a signature as support for the return of the Redskins,” the representative wrote in an email. “The petition has nothing to do with a stadium returning to the site or the Redskins.”

At the meeting, Krepp reiterated her opposition to an NFL stadium on the site.

Despite O’Dell’s opening noting that long-term plans had been shelved, community members pressed for details about the long-term plans for the site. Asked by a Ward 7 resident to go on the record in opposition of the use of public money for a NFL Stadium, O’Dell replied, “That’s not something I’m going to do.”

“What we’ve done from day one is said that we’re agnostic to what that plan would be,” he said. “Our job is actually to work with all stakeholders, including the Mayor’s Office and everyone else.”

“What I’ve told you today is that we’re focused on the short-term elements. We have made no decision on the long-term elements, so I’m not making a decision for or against it.”

O’Dell said that there could be still be public financing for an NFL Stadium at the site, but noted that was not his call to make.

On Tuesday, Greater Greater Washington reported that Virginia State Delegate Michael Webert (R-VA), Maryland State Delegate David Moon (D-MD), and District Councilmember David Grosso (I-At Large) Have together proposed parallel legislation in each of their legislative bodies to prevent public dollars from being spent to incentivize a new NFL Stadium.  

The Washington Redskins are looking to move from FedEx Field, their current home stadium, after their lease expires in 2026. Talk has already started about new locations, and NBC Sports reported that Redskins owner Dan Snyder was named to the league’s stadium committee in 2017. The committee provides strategic direction to the league and football teams on matters related to stadiums.

At the meeting, Events DC introduced a timeline and schematic plans for the first phase of the short-term plans for the stadium site. The first phase calls for multipurpose recreational fields for lacrosse, soccer and little-league baseball and features green space, a playground, restroom facilities and a pavilion.