The Washington Football Team play their home games in Maryland, and Governor Larry Hogan wants to make sure things stay that way.
"We don't want to lose the team out of the state and we're going to fight hard to make sure that we keep them here," Hogan said Thursday.
The governor's comments came in an exclusive interview with the Washington Football Talk podcast and Hogan didn't shy away from the very public courtship between Washington Football Team owner Dan Snyder and Washington, D.C. officials about returning the team to the old RFK Stadium site.
Hogan explained that when he was first elected governor in 2014 he spoke with Snyder about building a new stadium near the National Harbor development and that the team and state made progress towards construction. Hogan said the deal got put off track after some local officials were unsure about the location and then "the team started negotiating with D.C. and kind of put it on ice."
Now, however, the tone seems different.
Washington Football hired new team president Jason Wright earlier this season and he's been eager to meet with Maryland officials. Wright made clear that no matter where a new stadium ends up, the Football Team appreciate their fans in Maryland, and particularly in Prince George's County. The Football Team currently plays at FedEx Field in Landover and the lease on that site runs through the 2027 season.
"Irrespective of the stadium, we want to engage more deeply with Prince George's County because I don't want to risk losing a younger generation of fans," Wright said.
The team president pointed out that while no site for a new stadium has been selected, he shares a vision with Hogan and other Maryland officials on the process of building a stadium that becomes an economic engine for the community.
"The folks in Maryland are really aligned with how I want to build the stadium," Wright said. "The money that goes into this stadium goes back into the economy in an inclusive way."
Wright specifically mentioned working with women-owned, minority-owned and veteran-owned businesses as a key to getting a new stadium deal done, and Hogan echoed those sentiments.
"We talk to [the team] all the time and we just had a great productive meeting yesterday," Hogan said.
While the governor allowed that it hasn't always been smooth sailing with the Washington Football Team, things are in a good place now.
"Dan Snyder and I went a few rounds but we're working very hard," he said. "I just had a call with the leaders of the team talking about our desire to keep them in Maryland."
Where a new stadium might land is a different question, and the possibility of National Harbor has not been eliminated.
"Maybe we can still put that together but I absolutely would love to see them down across from National Harbor with all the other entertainment and restaurants and the casino and just build a world class facility there," Hogan said. "It would be terrific."
Wherever a new stadium lands, Hogan left no question where he wants it. And where he doesn't want it.
"I don't know that they’re going to be back in Washington or God forbid go over to Virginia."