- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 24, 2000

The Washington Redskins will charge admission when they move training camp to Ashburn, Va., this summer, becoming the only team in the National Football League to require its fans to pay to watch practice.
The Redskins will charge $10 for each person over age 13 and an additional $10 per car for parking under a plan announced yesterday at Redskin Park in Ashburn. The team, which had trained in Frostburg, Md., since 1995, holds camp from July 20 to Aug. 17.
None of the 30 other NFL teams charges for training camp, according to a team-by-team survey by The Washington Times. A few teams charge for parking, and several charge for scrimmages against another team. None charges simply to watch practice.
"We're probably one of the less expensive… . There's a lot of other NFL teams that do this," said Redskins President Steve Baldacci during an afternoon news conference. "It would be unfair to make a comparison with our colleagues. We think we'll have a very, very attractive offering for our fans."
Baldacci refused to comment when asked later about other teams' policies.
The Redskins are moving to Ashburn on a one-year trial and face a variety of potential problems, from the metro area's stifling traffic and oppressive summer weather to the distractions for players living close to home. The Redskins also have five years remaining on a 10-year contract with Frostburg State University, which played host to the Redskins the past five years, and must negotiate a settlement.
Nonetheless, Redskins officials believe they are making a long-term relocation.
"We think we have a very comprehensive plan," Baldacci said. "Our players are excited; our coaches are excited; [team owner Daniel] Snyder is enthralled that we're able to do this for the fans. We think it will be a historic event for the Redskins."
The charge to watch practice is the latest price increase from the Redskins. Since taking over the team last July, Snyder has raised what already was the NFL's priciest ticket an average of 8 percent. Snyder raised lower bowl seats from $55 and $60 each to $75, parking at FedEx Field from $10 to $15, and most food items at the stadium by at least $1 each.
The move marks the return of training camp to the metro area after a 54-year absence. The Redskins trained in Anacostia from 1937 to 1942 and in 1945. The team spent 31 years in Carlisle, Pa., before moving to Frostburg.
The latest relocation, first reported by The Times on July 27, has been a foregone conclusion for months. However, Frostburg State was not informed until Monday night. The Redskins had not informed Frostburg Mayor John Bambacus as of yesterday afternoon.
"Finally, less than 24 hours before a formal announcement, Frostburg State University was contacted by a senior vice president of the Redskins," Frostburg State President Catherine Gira said in a statement. "Our reaction is not one of surprise. This issue has been in the air for a long time. Our next conversation will be between [the Maryland Attorney General's Office] and the Redskins organization to negotiate a settlement."
Bambacus learned of the move from Gira.
"We'll get through it," said Bambacus, who said he tried repeatedly to talk with Snyder since the possibility of a move was first reported last summer. "I just don't understand from a common decency point of view why somebody on his staff couldn't have given us a head's up."
Baldacci declined to comment on the Redskins' break from Frostburg.
Meanwhile, details of the Redskins' training camp plan include:
Tickets, all general admission, will be sold in advance starting June 1 and at the gate each day during camp.
To get around traffic to and from camp around rush hour, practices will begin no earlier than 9:30 a.m. and end at nearly 6 p.m. Activities for spectators are planned after practices. The grounds will include a restaurant, merchandise tents, concessions, autograph packages and an interactive area called the NFL Experience.
Zoning officials approved a maximum of 7,500 spectators and 2,000 cars on weekdays and 15,000 spectators (though only 7,500 at any given time) and 3,000 cars on weekend days. The number of spectators permitted "is more than we anticipate [showing up]," Baldacci said. Bleachers are being constructed to accommodate about 8,000 fans.
Players will stay at a hotel.
The team will have four fields, including one of artificial turf. The Redskins had two fields, both natural grass, at Frostburg State. In addition, the team will have the locker room, weight room and training facilities it uses throughout the year.
Land will be cleared for about 3,300 parking spaces.
"The conditions are much more favorable at Redskin Park [than Frostburg]," Snyder said in Baltimore, where he was attending a meeting of NFL owners. "There's a little more heat, a little more humidity we need that… . The added fan base is the biggest plus. It just makes sense to keep [training camp] at home."
Eric Fisher, Rick Snider and Dave Elfin contributed to this report.

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