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FedEx takes its name off Commanders' stadium

For the first time in a quarter century, the Washington Commanders' home stadium will not be called FedEx Field this season.

FedEx has decided to opt out of its agreement to pay about $7.5 million a year to have the Commanders' stadium called FedEx Field. The Washington Post reports that the decision by FedEx took the Commanders by surprise.

“We thank FedEx Corporation for its longstanding naming rights sponsorship and their work with our team and community and look forward to their continued partnership within the Commanders family,” the team said 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.”

FedEx does plenty of business with the NFL and will continue to be a sponsor of the Commanders, but in a less prominent and less lucrative capacity.

Fred Smith, the founder of FedEx (and father of Steelers offensive coordinator Arthur Smith), was a minority owner of the Washington team for many years, but he clashed with former majority owner Dan Snyder and ultimately sold his ownership stake. FedEx also played a role in the team changing its former name when it threatened to remove its sponsorship if Snyder didn't agree to change it.

The Commanders will likely act fast to find a new sponsor so that a new name for the stadium can be announced well in advance of the 2024 season.