RFK and the Winter Classic

I got lots of great responses to today’s earlier post about where DC could host a Winter Classic, and because the discussion was good, I figured I’d take a crack at laying down the ice at RFK. I was a little surprised by the clamor from commenters and on Twitter for the exclusion of using the Armory neighborhood for the game, but then again, I don’t have the long ties to the town/Redskins that many others do, so who am I to argue on its part of history.

For those on the site, a full size version of the above shot is inside the post, so click through. Those in RSS readers, hang tight.

I originally left out RFK in the post this morning for a few reasons. One was simple distraction: I will not lie and just be up front to say that moving stadiums around the National Mall was kind of fun and it took more of my evening last night than I should be proud. The others had more to do with practicality. While we know that a Mall-hosted WC is kind of a fantasy, I think that possibility would be more likely than RFK.

The reasons at hand:

  • As discussed regarding FedEx, football stadiums work great for this type of event because the sight lines ensure the minimum amount of obstructed view as compared to other venues. All of this being said, RFK has a few design quirks of its own that would reduce some seats  since you are giving up one end zone and behind the net seating.
  • Given the choice of a football facility, FedEx kind of trumps every part of RFK (except the local history and geography in Maryland) for this event. We can call it classic DC, but the amenities of RFK just really aren’t up to snuff with the new parks, and that would include the types of luxury suites at both Nationals Park and FedEx.
  • If you are going to go nostalgic DC, it makes sense; but if you are trying for iconic DC, it’s hard to top the Mall, Monuments and Capitol.
  • This is kind of a throwaway point, but worth putting out there: rescheduling of a lower-tier bowl game would have to occur in order for the field to be available for a few weeks. Not anywhere near the challenge of, say, constructing an arena on the Mall, but still a consideration.

RFK would be a completely suitable locale, but beyond nostalgia, it doesn’t have anything the other locations may have.

Oh, and one final mock-up.

Baltimore Camden Yards or M&T Bank Stadium

Too bad you can’t zoom in, but I wanted to keep it in scale to show the distance from the Verizon Center to the sports facilities in the Baltimore Inner Harbor. There’s a hockey rink added in under that tip of the green arrow. Promise.

Ok, not really.

I will listen to arguments that Baltimore fans tuned in quite handily for last week’s game, and, while only slightly more north, the facilities offer better weather hopes. I just never see it happening under Leonsis’s watch, and unless there is some sort of expansion club that gets good quickly up in the Charm City, I really hope this doesn’t get any serious consideration. It’s DC’s only good sports team right now, let’s not watch it get taken away.

Dave Levy is a PR guy by day, a media researcher on the side and a self-proclaimed geek. He blogs often about how traditional media adapts – or tries to adapt – to the growing digital media world at State of the Fourth Estate. You can follow Dave on Twitter for various updates about everything from sports from his previous home in Boston to eccentric and obscure pop culture references. Read why Dave loves D.C.

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