Ted Leonsis, the chairman and CEO of Monumental Sports and Entertainment as well as the owner of your Washington Capitals, is looking for $600 million from the city of D.C. He is seeking the public funds for a major renovation of Capital One Arena per a report by Sam Fortier from The Washington Post (subscription required).
According to two people Fortier spoke two on the condition of anonymity with knowledge of the situation, the funding will make up the bulk of a total of $800 million renovation plan with Leonsis’ company providing the other $200 million.
MSE has outlined their plan to the city and the project will take four years to complete. The work will be done in the summer over those four years after the Capitals and NBA’s Washington Wizards seasons conclude.
The outline of the plan includes a transformation of the seating bowl with less nosebleed seats and more seats closer to the ice and the court. There will also be a food court that will be open during non game hours as well as a “new, glassy” entrance at 7th and F streets.
The construction, if approved by D.C. mayor Muriel Bowser, would begin in 2024. Bowser has been pushing for a Commanders stadium at the old RFK site and her city is competing with politicians from Virginia and Maryland over which place wins the new site for the stadium.
According to the sports business website Sportico, the Capitals are the ninth most valuable team in the NHL at $1.22 billion. This wouldn’t be the first time Capital One Arena, which was previously named Verizon Center as well as MCI Center when it first opened, has undergone renovations. But this would be the most important one if the city accepts.
If it doesn’t, Leonsis has a trick up his sleeve which would be relocating his NHL and NBA franchises to a site in Alexandria’s Potomac Yard neighborhood. To get there, one would need to take the Blue and Yellow lines on the Metro. Glenn Youngkin, the Virginia governor, has supported such a move.
Some believe, including the anonymous source, that the prospect of moving to Virginia is a bargaining tactic Leonsis is using with the District of Columbia. Either way there is lots of money involved so it’ll be interesting to see if Bowser accepts Leonsis’ pitch.