Capitals, Wizards plot move from D.C.


Wizards and Capitals moved to a new arena Image: JBG Smith

The NBA’s Washington Wizards and NHL’s Washington Capitals could make a $2 billion move across the Potomac River to play in a new arena in Alexandria instead of Washington D.C. (US).

NBC Washington said the deal would transform a growing Northern Virginia neighborhood and send shockwaves through downtown D.C, which is accustomed to hosting tens of thousands of fans but has struggled with crime.

Monumental Sports & Entertainment (MSE), which owns the teams, said a framework of an agreement for a public-private partnership had been reached to create a world-class Entertainment District in Alexandria at Potomac Yard.

The Wizards and the Capitals current play their games at the 20,356-capacity Capital One Arena.

MSE’s Founder, Chairman, Principal Partner, and CEO, Ted Leonsis said, “We are committed to providing world-class fan experiences while continuously evolving our teams, deepening community ties, and solidifying our role as leaders at the forefront of sports and technology.

Wizards and Capitals moved to a new arenaImage: JBG Smith

“The opportunity to expand to this 70-acre site in Virginia, neighboring industry-leading innovators, and a great academic partner, would enable us to further our creativity and achieve next-generation, leading work – all while keeping our fans and the community at the forefront of everything we do.”

NBC Washington further stated that in the lead-up to the announcement Wednesday, D.C. and Virginia lawmakers proposed dueling multimillion-dollar bids to either transform the Wizards’ and Capitals’ current arena in the District or spur the move across the river.

Monumental said the new world-class Entertainment District is expected to serve as a catalyst to create exceptional experiences, uniting and fostering economic growth throughout the D.C., Maryland, and Virginia region.

The Entertainment District would include a new MSE campus featuring the global corporate headquarters for Monumental Sports & Entertainment, an industry-leading arena for both the Washington Capitals and Washington Wizards, a state-of-the-art Monumental Sports Network media studio, the Wizards practice facility, a performing arts venue, and an expanded esports facility, in addition to bringing new retail, restaurants, conference, and community gathering spaces.

Wizards and Capitals moved to a new arenaImage: JBG Smith

This would build on MSE’s existing presence in Northern Virginia, where the Washington Capitals house their practice facility and where the company manages EagleBank Arena on the George Mason University campus.

This new regional destination would be a transformational investment made possible through a public-private partnership among parties with long histories in the DMV: MSE, the Commonwealth of Virginia, the City of Alexandria, and JBG SMITH.

MSE also said it is excited about the potential opportunity to update Capital One Arena to be the future home of the WNBA’s Washington Mystics, increasing the company’s investment in the Mystics, creating a gameday experience tailored specifically for the Mystics, and allowing this championship-winning team to continue to grow the franchise and its fanbase.

MSE’s goal would be to update Capital One Arena to serve as a unique, flexible arena that could host 10,000-20,000 people and continue to host world-class live entertainment spanning music, comedy, cultural and sports performances, including family-friendly entertainment, and collegiate competitions (NCAA Men’s and Women’s tournaments, conference play, etc.).

MSE said it envisions Capital One Arena as maintaining its position as a vital and vibrant point of connection in downtown D.C.

Wizards and Capitals moved to a new arenaImage: JBG Smith

Moreover, in the future, the MSE team would be able to secure more family shows and accommodate annual bookings and mini-residencies that require long-term planning, which is currently not possible with the seasonal changes from the NBA and NHL’s game schedules.

If permitted, MSE would continue to invest in Capital One Arena and maintain its standing as a premier sports and entertainment destination as well as one of the busiest arenas in the nation.

NBC Washington reported that D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said she and other District sports fans were disappointed by the decision and maintain that the District is the best place for the teams. The move would be a major blow to downtown D.C.

Bowser’s office recently announced legislation to authorize $500 million of an $800 million project toward completely renovating and modernizing the teams’ current home over three years beginning in 2024.

Bowser called it “our best and final offer” to keep the Wizards and the Capitals “where they belong – in Washington, D.C.”

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