SBJ/Jan. 31-Feb. 6, 2011/Facilities

D.C. to celebrate RFK Stadium's 50th anniversary

Washington, D.C., officials are developing an extended public celebration to commemorate the 50th anniversary this fall of RFK Stadium.

Specific elements of the commemoration remain in formative stages, but district leaders are seeking to create a multi-month run of events for this summer and fall that would include a concert, fan celebration, formal dinner and other functions to celebrate the venerable, multipurpose facility. Historical video vignettes are also being produced to run on the video board during stadium events.

“We’re still just getting started with putting the whole program together, but we’re definitely envisioning a major series of commemorative events,” said Greg O’Dell, chief executive of the Washington Convention and Sports Authority, which owns and manages the stadium. “This is one of the great, old stadiums out there, and it has seen a ton of great history over the years.”

RFK Stadium opened Oct. 1, 1961, and over its ongoing run has been home to the Washington Redskins (1961-96), the second iteration of the Washington Senators (1962-71), Washington Nationals (2005-07), D.C. United (1996-present), FIFA World Cup and Olympic soccer matches, and myriad now-defunct teams from entities such as the U.S. Football League, North American Soccer League and Women’s United Soccer Association.

For the past three years, the stadium has played host to a college football bowl game, drawing more than 38,000 for its most recent game in December between Maryland and East Carolina. RFK Stadium also has been a major concert venue over the years, drawing acts such as The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and U2.

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