Although the Washington Commanders are coming off a 4-13 losing season and the negative press that has surrounded the team for the last several years, a survey from Limelight Insights by Shugoll, a national marketing research company headquartered in Rockville, Maryland, shows that fans are excited and hopeful for the future, but are ready for change. Between June 17th and 21st, 2024, a total of 818 Commanders fans completed a survey that sought to assess the current fan experience at FedEx Field and understand fans’ vision for the future of the franchise. Although survey results reveal that fans are optimistic about the team’s future under new ownership, they also highlight that improvements to the current fan experience are desperately needed. 

To go directly to a brief summary of study findings, see our infographic here: 

Many Commanders Fans are Jaded

Considering the team’s rocky performance on and off the field over the last decade, it is not surprising that Commanders fans are not particularly pleased with the fan experience. 

The survey from Limelight Insights by Shugoll asked Commanders fans to evaluate the experience of attending games on a scale from “Poor” to “Excellent” in the following areas:

  • Getting to and From the Stadium (e.g., the convenience of getting to the stadium, the ease of arriving/departing, Metrorail access, the availability of parking)
  • The Stadium Environment (e.g., offering a family-friendly environment, offering a welcoming environment, the sightlines in the stadium)
  • Concessions (e.g., the variety of concessions available, the quality of concessions available, the beverages available being cold/food being hot)
  • Ticket Prices

The survey findings* indicate that:

  • No more than 40% of Commanders fans evaluate any aspect of the fan experience as very positive. 
  • Only a third (33%) say that there is a welcoming environment at the stadium, and a similar number of fans (31%) say the environment is family friendly.
  • Around a quarter (27%) say the quality of concessions available is very good.
  • Only 15% say that it is easy to arrive and depart from the stadium, suggesting that getting to and from Commanders games is a challenge. 
  • Only 13% of fans feel very positively about ticket prices. 

These findings even ring true for current and former season ticketholders who are similarly dissatisfied with the fan experience.

*Note: Numbers reported here reflect responses of “Good” or “Excellent” on a 7-point scale from “Poor” to “Excellent”.

A Renewed Sense of Hope and Promise for the Future

Despite the historically negative fan experience, expectations for the new ownership group and the future of the franchise are high. Eighty-one percent of Commanders fans feel the overall fan experience will be better this year under new ownership. The same number (81%) also say they are more excited about the upcoming season than previous seasons. 

When thinking about the future of the franchise, fans say they are most excited about:

  • Fresh/new culture led by a new team of owners and coaches (64%)
  • Potential for a winning record in the near future (61%)
  • Seeing how the new ownership team improves the fan experience at games (41%)
  • Potential for a new stadium to be built (34%)

Not only are fans more excited about the upcoming season, but according to survey results, about one-third say they plan to attend games more often this season compared to last.

Study author and CEO of Limelight Insights by Shugoll, Cara Shugoll Wilken, says, “The Commanders seem to be in a really promising position. Although discontentment has been growing for years, fans genuinely seem optimistic that Josh Harris and company are going to turn things around on and off the field.”

Fans Are Eager for Drastic Changes to the Franchise Under New Ownership

The team’s name has been a contentious point of discussion in recent years, which led to the “Washington Commanders” rebrand in 2022. 

Any change to the name of a historic franchise would be met with opposition, but stakeholders were hopeful that the Commanders name would grow on fans over time. However, a majority (63%) of Commanders fans believe the owners should change the name again. When it comes to considering potential names, Cara Shugoll Wilken suggests, “Management should go back to the drawing board and consider an entirely fresh set of names. Unfortunately, the finalists from the last name change simply do not resonate with the current fan base.”

In fact, none of the names evaluated were preferred by more than 20% of fans. Specifically:

  • 42% chose none of the names tested
  • 19% chose “Washington Football Team”
  • 17% chose “Washington Redwolves”
  • 12% chose “Washington Defenders” 
  • 6% chose “Washington Redhogs” 
  • 3% chose “Washington Brigade”
  • 1% chose “Washington Armada” 

In addition to the potential for a new name, fans are excited about the prospect of a new stadium for the team. More than half of fans (55%) want to see a new stadium built at the site of RFK Stadium in D.C. No other potential site was preferred by more than 14% of fans.

As the Washington Commanders embark on the next chapter under new ownership, survey findings highlight a palpable sense of optimism among fans. With a renewed commitment to enhancing the fan experience and exploring potential changes like a new stadium and possibly a new team name, the Commanders could be poised to redefine their future in the NFL.

Methodology and Additional Information

This study was conducted using an online survey sent to football fans in the DC, Maryland, and Virginia area. While any football fan could complete the survey (a total of 1,190 survey completes), the results are focused specifically on the 818 Washington Commanders fans within the sample. Surveys were collected between June 17th and 21st, 2024. Data are accurate within +/- 3% at a 95% confidence level. 

To see our data infographic, please go to: 

For more information on the survey results or to arrange an interview with Cara Shugoll Wilken, the study author and CEO of Limelight Insights by Shugoll, contact Cara directly at