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The Washington Redskins and the city of Richmond have begun discussions about restructuring the eight-year contract that brings the Redskins to town each summer for training camp.
Under the current agreement, the Redskins are paid $500,000 per year, either in cash, sponsorships or in-kind services, to come to Richmond.
“The current deal is not the deal I would have negotiated with the Redskins,” Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney said Tuesday.
But the Redskins have pushed back against the characterization of the deal as good for the team but not for the city. Now in Year 5, the team contends that the agreement has been a net winner for the city, cheap authetnic nfl jerseys releasing documents to the Richmond Times-Dispatch showing that the team has directly contributed more to the city in taxes and charitable donations than the city has paid the Redskins in cash.
For example, in 2015 Richmond owed $360,694 in cash — the portion of the city’s required $500,000 payment that remained after sponsorships and in-kind services such as volunteer time. The Redskins’ documents show the team provided $436,767 in direct support to the city through taxes paid, direct payments for things like parking spaces, and charity.
The team’s analysis omits the city and Richmond Economic Development Authority’s initial investment of $11 million in the Bon Secours Washington Redskins Training Center, which was funded in part by giving the Westhampton School site to Bon Secours.
On Tuesday, the team announced a donation of $60,000 in sporting goods to city schools. The Redskins also are paying for a counselor to be in each of the five traditional neighborhood public high schools in the city.
“It’s tough to measure (the impact of the deal), and that’s unfortunately the challenge with economic development deals is how exactly do you get a measurement,” said Tommy Kranz, the interim schools superintendent. “But I think this has been significant for our students, I think it’s been significant for the Richmond public school system, and we really appreciate everything the Redskins have done.”
The public relations blitz comes as the Redskins and the city are at the bargaining table discussing the future of their relationship.
“Every day, the Redskins and my team work to make the deal a little bit better,” Stoney said.
“In recent weeks we’ve discussed how we can make the deal better for Richmond. I’m optimistic about where those talks will take us.”
Redskins President Bruce Allen said reframing the deal is a matter of perception. He said the deal has been a success for all sides so far.
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“We know the economics,” Allen said. “Economically, it’s been very good for the city. It costs us more to be here as opposed to Redskins Park. It costs us a lot more to travel. It doesn’t take a CPA to figure that out.
“But I think it’s been great for the community. I can tell by the events — we’ve had more of them. They’ve benefited greatly from us being here.”
The deal has been a popular political punching bag, particularly the $500,000 annual contribution.
The hope was to cover the contribution through services and sponsorships, but the cash amount has been significant in every year of the deal. Last year, the Richmond Economic Development Authority paid the Redskins $138,519.
The team agreed to defer $92,000 of the owed money to the 2017 bill, as a gesture of good will to the new mayoral administration.
Starting in 2016, the team quit announcing daily attendance numbers at the camp, which have fallen well short of the first year. In the final year that attendance was announced, weekday crowds consisted of about 5,000 people — in 2017, the crowds have seemed slightly sparser, though the team has added a number of themed days to boost attendance.
Allen disputed the characterization of crowds as lower, and said he wants the focus of the deal to be on the community impact, not the financials.
“I think it’s been good for the team, and it’s been great for the kids in the community and Redskins fans from North Carolina and southern Virginia — it’s been a dream for them,” Allen said.
It’s not known how the renegotiation of the deal would affect the money owed or the terms of the deal.