- The Washington Times
Saturday, October 4, 2008

The Washington Redskins last week played their final game against the Cowboys at Texas Stadium. Next season, the Cowboys move into their new stadium, where fans will pay personal seat license fees from $16,000 to as much as $150,000 for the right to buy the most expensive seats in the building.

On Sunday, the Redskins play the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field, which opened in 2003 and where fans paid personal seat license fees from $2,000 to $4,000 - a bargain now.

And in 2010, the Redskins will play the New York Giants in their new stadium, where fans will pay between $1,000 and $20,000 in personal seat license fees. More than half of those will be priced at $5,000 - again, merely for the right to buy season tickets.

That would leave the Redskins as the only team in the NFC East where fans don’t have to pay for personal seat licenses.

So you’d better stop complaining about the high-priced tickets, the traffic, the parking, the sound system, the video board and everything else that has made FedEx Field a less-than-ideal fan experience. You’d better give the hated stadium a warm embrace and love it.

And you’d better stop wishing for the team to move back to the District into a new stadium. It will never be RFK in 1982 again.

FedEx Field, which opened in 1997, by 2010 will be the oldest stadium in the division and, without personal seat licenses, the biggest bargain in the division.

How long do you think Dan Snyder is going to live with that?

Snyder owns FedEx Field, so he reaps the rewards of that ownership. But you have to believe the Giants and Cowboys could gain a competitive edge financially over Washington.

With the opening of those two new stadiums, you can expect talk to heat up about the District making a deal with Snyder for a new stadium in the city - especially one with a retractable roof that would allow Washington to host a Super Bowl, which, like the Olympics, seems to be some sort of municipal validation that escapes me.

Earlier this year, it was reported that District Mayor Adrian Fenty was pushing for a written proposal to Snyder to bring the Redskins back to the city.

It will be a complicated process. Don’t expect the District to pay for it, as the city was forced to lure baseball here. No, Snyder will have to pay the freight for a new stadium. Still, expect to see enough benefits tied to it to make it worth him digging into his own pocket - perhaps something connected to the development rights along the Anacostia near RFK Stadium, the likely site of a new stadium - to Snyder.

Also complicating the issue is the deal Jack Kent Cooke made with the state of Maryland for infrastructure costs in connection with the construction of FedEx Field - a 30-year lease.

Last year, Redskins general counsel Dave Donovan said the club is legally bound to FedEx Field until 2027 because of that agreement.

“We don’t want to leave,” Donovan said. “We’re really happy and don’t have any other options because we’re bound to the lease. It was written in a way to make sure that we play football there for 30 years.”

But one possible scenario is for the District to help negotiate a deal with Maryland to get the Redskins out of the lease. And at some point, the real estate at FedEx Field may prove valuable enough to warrant getting out of the lease - if there is a way out, and there usually is.

We are talking about a lot of money here - especially for Redskins fans, who should quiver in fear at the possibility of paying for personal seat licenses and at ticket prices set by Snyder, who we all know is not running a nonprofit organization, in a new stadium.

The next time you are complaining about FedEx Field, remember: At least you have a seat there that didn’t cost you a mortgage.

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