The Washington NFL team is the league’s third richest. Still, to lure the franchise’s training camp to Richmond, the city had to commit $11 million to build the new facility.
Then, because it would be a violation of federal labor laws for the team to do it itself, the city set up a program to recruit local volunteers to help run the camp. They were called training camp ambassadors, and depending on how many shifts they worked they were compensated with incentives ranging from a commemorative pin to a ticket to a pre-season game.
Oh, and every year the camp comes to town, Richmond is on the hook for a $500,000 annual “local contribution” to the franchise.
One might think Richmonders have done enough for the team. The city’s economic development authority and folks running the camp on their behalf, the multi-national venue management company SMG, think otherwise.
Today, SMG used an email list made up of people who have seen a show at the Landmark Theater or Richmond CenterStage to offer “an exciting opportunity for fans and community supporters in conjunction with the [camp’s] move to Richmond.”
That opportunity? To donate directly to help “build and develop” the training center.
The fundraising campaign includes three exciting options, all of which revolve around the construction of a 100-yard-long “legacy brick walk” at the training center. It presents fans, SMG says, “an exclusive opportunity to enshrine their name into” team history with “a personalized brick.”
For just $100, generous residents can purchase their own 4-by-8 inch “legacy brick.” For an additional $65, donors can get a “keepsake replica brick” for display in their home or office. And because no “keepsake replica brick” would be complete without a “replica display case,” they’re available for an added $55.
If a common brick is too humble for your taste, consider a 24-by-24 inch polished-granite paver personalized with a logo or name for $2,500. The purchase includes a keepsake, 12-by-12 replica tile that comes framed -- no need for any additional display cases.
Finally, for an unspecified (but no doubt very large) sum, the most generous among us can donate a granite bench engraved with a business logo and name.
SMG’s email notes that “each commemorative item comes with an individually numbered and signed keepsake certificate inscribed with your personal engraving.” It’s a treasure that will no doubt last longer than the eight years the team has committed to practicing in Richmond.
And of course, gift certificates are available. If you’re planning to give a loved one a brick for Christmas, the email advises you’ll need to order by Dec. 9.
So hurry and order online or call today: (855) SKNS-BRX. Dan Snyder is depending on you.
Update: On Friday morning, CenterStage sent out a blast retracting and apologizing for the solicitation letter sent out by SMG. The management company is contracted to operate and market CenterStage's venues. SMG, as noted above, also runs operations at the training camp. The brick fundraiser "is not associated with CenterStage Foundation, Richmond CenterStage or Landmark Theater," the email said.
An earlier version of this story misidentified the Washington franchise as the NFL's wealthiest. According to Forbes, the team is the third most valuable, with annual revenues of $381 million. Style regrets the error.