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ADD ONE COOKE TO MARYLAND'S FOOTBALL SOUP
Published December 5, 1995
Redskins Owner Jack Kent Cooke joined officials from the state and county to formally announce a deal to build a new 78,600-seat stadium for the Redskins in Prince George's County, MD. The state-of-the-art facility, to be funded by $180M from Cooke, is scheduled to open for the '97 season. DETAILS: As negotiations wore on, Prince George's County Exec Wayne Curry "pressured Cooke to agree to a laundry list of concessions," including a $3M contribution for a community rec center adjacent to the stadium, $1.5M for scholarships and other educational programs, work-study jobs for an area college, guaranteed 25-30% minority participation in construction, concession and other contracts, and that at least 2,000 county residents would get "preferential treatment" for season-tickets. Cooke will purchase the 200 acres for $4.1M; the Redskins will play all home games for "not less than 30 years after the stadium is occupied;" the state will pay up to $73M for road, parking lot construction and other infrastructure (Neal & Pierre, WASHINGTON POST, 12/5). The stadium will reportedly generate up to $8.5M in annual taxes for the county and $3-5M for the state. The facility will hold 331 luxury boxes, and close to 15,000 club seats (WASHINGTON TIMES, 12/5). ENOUGH ALREADY? In Baltimore, Jon Morgan notes with DC's new MCI Center, Camden Yards, a Browns facility and a new Redskins stadium, the Baltimore-Washington area would have "a staggering" 30,625 club seats and 573 luxury boxes -- "almost certainly be the nation's highest concentration of pricey seats." With a population of 6.7 million, the area teams are going to have to sell one club seat for every 219 people and a sky box for every 11,693. The "wild card" will be lobbying and law firms, "a largely untested market with vast potential" (Baltimore SUN, 12/5). SI's Peter King questioned whether the area can handle the luxury and club seats. Cooke: "I'm quite positive that we are going to succeed to exactly the extent that all our projections indicate we will succeed" ("MNF," ABC, 12/4). WHAT THEY SAID: Cooke, who has been in search of a new facility for seven years: "I've been forced to practice patience that would have put Job to shame." DC officials said they were not surprised with the move, and are counting on the new MCI Center make up for the lost economic boost (WASHINGTON POST, 12/5).