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June 18, 2024

FedEx drops name off Commanders’ Landover stadium, ending its naming rights agreement early

FedEx drops name off Commanders’ Landover stadium, ending its naming rights agreement early

Following the announcement that the stadium would be renamed, the FedEx Field sign is seen on Feb. 28, 2024. (WTOP/José Umaña)

The Washington Commanders’ stadium will be getting a new name after more than two decades of being known as FedEx Field. The company is ending its sponsorship of the stadium two years early.

The team tells WTOP that for now the stadium will be called Commanders Field while the Commanders look to secure a new naming rights partner.

FedEx said in a statement to WTOP the package delivery giant is focusing on “broader NFL sponsorship and opportunities” as it gives up the naming rights to the Prince George’s County stadium.

“We continuously review our marketing programs to ensure our investments are aligned with our evolving business objectives,” the statement said. “We believe the future is bright for the Washington Commanders, and we look forward to watching the team evolve under their new ownership.”

FedEx had the naming rights to the stadium where the football team plays through 2025. It paid the team $205 million in 1999 for the naming rights, changing its name from Jack Kent Cooke Stadium.

The Commanders thanked the delivery company for “its longstanding naming rights sponsorship and their work with our team and community” in a statement.

“We have already started the process of identifying our next stadium naming rights partner — a partner who will play a crucial role in ushering in the next era of not only Commanders football, but also a robust slate of top live events and concerts,” the team’s statement read.

A 2023 internal document detailing investments in the football team and stadium by new owner Josh Harris outlined a provision in the naming rights contract that allowed FedEx to terminate their stadium sponsorship deal if management of the team changed.

The leaked document also said Washington could bring on a higher-paying name rights sponsor in 2024, with a projected $10 million increase in naming rights revenue for the 2024 season.

When will the Commanders’ stadium be renamed?
Matt Winkler, professor of sports analytics and management at American University, said he’s “not surprised” by FedEx’s decision.

Winkler said it was apparent the shipping giant was leaning this direction during the last few years of the Dan Snyder era, citing a letter the company sent then-owner Daniel Snyder in 2020 asking the team to change its name.

“That was the first sort of canary in the coal mine, but a very serious one,” Winkler said.

Winkler believes we will see a short-term naming rights deal, as the team decides where it wants its home to be for the long term. According to Winker, while he is confident the team is already fielding new naming rights offers, especially from some big regional companies, he said finding the right sponsor could take some time.

“We’ve seen the Nationals, you know, have trouble after all these years, finding the right naming rights partner for their stadium. So, it’s not a slam dunk,” he said.

Other stadium changes to come
The announcement comes a day after the NFL team released plans for upgrades to the stadium.

While the team is contractually obligated to play at the Landover stadium through 2027, it has been looking into building a new stadium.

The House is expected to vote Wednesday on a bill that would allow D.C. to redevelop the old RFK Stadium site, possibly clearing the path for a Commanders return to the District.

Finding a new naming rights partner for its stadium is the latest addition to a list of changes that Washington said it’s “excited about for the 2024 season,” including new head coach Dan Quinn and the No. 2 overall pick in the NFL draft.

The Washington Post first reported the end of the sponsorship deal.

This story is developing. Stay with WTOP for the latest. 

WTOP’s Mike Murillo and Thomas Robertson contributed to this report.

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Jessica Kronzer

Jessica Kronzer graduated from James Madison University in May 2021 after studying media and politics. She enjoys covering politics, advocacy and compelling human-interest stories.

Emily Venezky

Emily Venezky is a digital writer/editor at WTOP. Emily grew up listening to and reading local news in Los Angeles, and she’s excited to cover stories in her chosen home of the DMV. She recently graduated from The George Washington University, where she studied political science and journalism.

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