While there has been some heavy speculation this week that an announcement would be made this week that would move the Capitals of the NHL and the Wizards of the NBA out of Capital One Arena in the Penn Quarter neighborhood and relocate the teams to Potomac Yards in neighboring town Alexandria, Virginia, it now seems to be a done deal. A sad day for D.C. sports fans is upon us as two of the District’s core professional sports teams are leaving D.C. and heading towards one of its neighboring towns across the state border. Just hours ago, on Wednesday morning, the Caps and Wizards owner, Ted Leonsis, and the Governor of Virginia, Glenn Youngkin, announced a shocking $2B plan that is going to move the teams across the Potomac to Virginia.
The new proposed area which is about 20 minutes from central D.C. by metro.
Is this a done deal?
It seems like the answer is yes, the announcement of the agreed upon $2B plan took place on the morning of Wednesday, December 13th. The announcement came after competing bids between the local officials of D.C. and Virginia were made to Ted Leonsis, owner of Monumental Sports and Entertainment (the company that owns both the Wizards and Capitals), the D.C. officials planning to transform the teams’ current stadium (Capital One Arena) and the Virginia officials aiming to move the teams across the Potomac to Alexandria. Well, it seems that the ink is dry, and now D.C.’s NBA and NHL teams are moving outside the city, which is not something we’re entirely joyful about.
That being said, with this move does come something quite nice: a clean slate. While the Washington Capitals have had some success in recent years, winning the Stanely Cup in 2018, the Wizards have on the other hand, have struggled in recent years. So, with this in mind, perhaps a new stadium will be the clean slate that the teams need to thrive going forward! Plus, with a new stadium typically comes awesome new amenities and facilities for fans, while it’s a shame these two teams won’t be in the capital any longer, at least their new stadium might make for an even more incredible experience than their current stadium is.
The deal sadly shouldn’t come as a tremendous shock, as the owner of the Capitals and Wizards has repeatedly spoken out about the unfavorable terms in the mortgage that was taken out on Capital One Arena that has cost him an estimated $36 million annually. The owner, Leonsis, even went so far as to say it is, “the worst building deal in professional sports”, which in hindsight could be seen as a sign that he’d move the team as soon as the mortgage was paid off.
When are the Capitals and Wizards going to move?
According to the current lease the owners have with Capital One Arena the teams cannot move before 2027, but recently in a news release it was announced that the teams plan to make the move to Alexandria in 2028.
Why are the Capitals and Wizards leaving D.C.?
As typically is the case, it seems that this is a matter of financial decision-making made by Ted Leonsis, the owner of both teams. On Tuesday evening the office of the Mayor of D.C., Muriel Bowser, announced that there was legislative authorization to provide around $500 million towards a complete renovation of the teams’ current stadium, Capital One Arena. However, based on the announced $2B deal that the teams’ owner was able to make with Virginia officials, it seems like it was a simple matter of the deeper purse outbidding its competitors.
According to building plans, the new arena would be in Potomac Yards, where there are roughly 70 acres of land that will be part of the future development plans for the teams’ stadiums as well as other accompanying businesses that will open up in the area. The Virginia Governor announced that the arena would not only bring in fans from across the DMV area, but it would also bring in new retail, residential buildings, and more, to the area where the new “Potomac Yards” metro stop recently opened.