Capital One Arena ‘Monumental’ rejig plans


Monumental commits to Capital One Arena Image: NHL

Recently, the Monumental Sports & Entertainment’s Founder, Chairman, Principal Partner and the head honcho, Ted Leonsis, The Mayor of the District of Columbia, Muriel Bowser, and the Chairman of the Council of the District of Columbia, Phil Mendelson, announced an agreement for a transformative renovation and modernization of the Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C., US, and an expansion of Monumental’s business and hospitality operations next door into the Gallery Place for a revitalized entertainment destination in Downtown D.C.

‘MONUMENTAL’ quoted Ted Leonsis as stating, “I look at outcomes, not process, and we got to the right outcome. I know this was a difficult process and I want people to understand how much I love Washington D.C., and how much I’ve always loved the Washington D.C., Mayor Bowser, and her team heard us and worked with us and gave us the tools for us to meet the needs of our business to expand right here in downtown. We are going to have time to talk about our experience in Virginia, but that is not today. Today is about staying in D.C. and is about what the Mayor and the Council have done in downtown D.C.”

Added Leonsis, “We got to this place because we kept an honest dialog with the Mayor and her staff, and we both took the high road as we didn’t know how things would end. This is more than an investment from the City – it’s a true partnership demonstrated by all of these investments which the City has committed to for our fans to have an exceptional gameday experience.”

The Monumental Sports & Entertainment (MSE), located in Washington, D.C., (US), is one of the largest integrated sports and entertainment companies in the country with one of the most diverse partnership groups in all of sports.

Washington, D.C.-based the Council of the District of Columbia is the legislative branch of the Government of the District of Columbia. As permitted in the United States Constitution, the district is not part of any US State and is overseen directly by the Federal Government.

The 20,356-capacity Capital One Arena is an indoor arena in Washington, D.C.(US). Located in the Chinatown section of the larger Penn Quarter neighborhood, the arena sits atop the Gallery Place rapid transit station of the Washington Metro.

The Gallery Place Station is a Washington Metro Station in Washington, D.C., US, on the Green, Yellow and Red Lines. It is one of the four major transfer points, a transfer station between the Red Line on the upper level and the Green/Yellow Lines on the lower level.

‘MONUMENTAL’ further stated that the District has committed to the previously announced financing of $500 million towards a renovation of the Capital One Arena, the home arena for the National Hockey League’s (NHL’s) Washington Capitals and the National Basketball Association’s (NBA’s) Washington Wizards. In addition, the District of Columbia will provide an additional $15 million towards improvements of the alley connecting the Gallery Place to the Capital One Arena. The legislation enacted by the District of Columbia Council allows this funding through an appropriation for the capital construction projects funded by the general obligation bonds.

Since December 2023, the District of Columbia officials have taken concrete action to support the Monumental Sports and the downtown community. In January 2024, the Mayor announced the formation of the Gallery Place/Chinatown Task Force to articulate a defined vision including and surrounding the Capital One Arena and announced the Downtown Action Plan and a Downtown Public Realm Plan to ensure the long-term success of Downtown DC’s commercial core. The Mayor also opened the first Safe Commercial Corridor Hub in the Chinatown neighborhood staffed by the outreach teams from the multiple public safety and human services agencies that will be able to respond in realtime to challenges in the community.

And earlier in the month of March, the Council passed the Secure DC omnibus legislation with a multipronged strategy and tactics to combat crime, including provisions that allows for the drug-free enforcement zone – which has already been enforced in the Chinatown neighborhood.

Maintained Mayor Bowser, “We are going to have a state-of-the-art urban arena in Downtown DC and that’s a great deal for DC, for the teams and for the fans. We made a great offer – and kept that offer on the table – because have known all along that this is a win-win for our City and the teams. This is a catalytic investment in Downtown DC. We are excited to have Monumental as our partners in DC’s Comeback and we look forward to working together to win for DC.”

The sports teams provide incredible benefits to the surrounding community and drive extraordinary economic impact and a strong public-private partnership is essential to sustaining both. According to a survey conducted by the DC Business Improvement District, activity at the Capital One Arena generated $54 million in District of Columbia tax revenue in 2023. As of the close of 2023, the Capital One Arena generated $800 million in cumulative tax revenue to the District of Columbia since the arena opened, and the average visitor to the arena spends approximately $267 inside and outside the arena, further supporting the neighborhood small businesses.

Across the region, the public-private partnerships (PPPs) are the norm for the professional sports teams: Both the Major League Baseball’s (MLB’s) Washington Nationals and the Major League Soccer’s (MLS’s) DC United received public financing to build the 41,546-capacity Nationals Park and the 20,000-capacity Audi Field in Washington, D.C., respectively.

In the 14 years since Leonsis has owned the arena, he has invested over $200 million in renovations and upgrades – including:

  • $120+M in capital expenditures on items including roof, all-new seats, new sound system, center hung scoreboard, light-emitting diode (LED) lights/bowl lighting, concourses and concession stands, dehumidification, escalators, fire alarm, ice plant, tech improvements, etc;
  • $18 million for District E Powered by Ticketmaster and other renovations;
  • $60M investment in new broadcast and production studio for the Monumental Sports Network; and
  • $15M in enhanced staff space for the several hundred Monumental Sports employees.

Put in Phil Mendelson, District of Columbia Council Chairman, “The Monumental Sports has been a great partner with the District since acquiring the arena nearly 14 years ago. We’re ecstatic to keep them as a cornerstone of our Downtown. As we’ve said all along: Our Government is able to move quickly and follow through on our commitment. With the extended relationship with Monumental, we’re looking forward to the reinvigoration of the Gallery Place/Chinatown.”

The Monumental Sports has the opportunity to expand into additional space within the Gallery Place, for both operational and public facing uses, which when combined with the existing District E presence will effectively increase the Capital One Arena footprint, enhance the fan experience and provide the much-needed back of house improvements. This opportunity allows Monumental Sports to fulfill its need for additional space to support its rapid growth.”

Commented Kenyan McDuffie, At-Large Council Member and Chair of the Committee on Business and Economic Development, “Keeping the Wizards and the Capitals in our nation’s (United States) capital Washington, D.C. has always been the right move for the vitality of our downtown. Our residents want the entertainment and sports programing the venue bring, as well as the expanded access to job and economic opportunities, for decades to come. I look forward to working with the teams and our communities as we build the right future for the Capital One Arena and the District of Columbia.”

The At-Large Council Member is a description for members of a governing body who are elected or appointed to represent a whole membership or population (notably a City, County, State, Province, nation, club or association), rather than a subset.

The additional deal terms:

  • $515 million in cash;
    • This would help us develop the best sightlines for the fans, premium hospitality options, better digital infrastructure and other critical improvements to modernize the fan areas, enhance the player spaces and the fan experience inside and out;
  • An agreement to add nearly 200,000 square feet of newly programed space throughout the Capital One Arena and in the Gallery Place building next door;
  • Safety Improvements;
    • Seventeen (17) dedicated officers from two hours before game time to two hours after game time;
  • Support the Athletes
    • The new Wizards Practice Facility, with options including top floors of the Gallery Place; and
    • The Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) team Washington Mystics and the Capital City Go-Go (the NBA G League affiliate of the Washington Wizards) will continue to play in the arena but will be designated four games per season and likely all playoff games, at the Capital One Arena.

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