|"The Phone Booth"|
|Former names||MCI Center (1997–2006)|
|Location||601 F Street Northwest
Washington, D.C. 20004-1603
|Broke ground||October 18, 1995|
|Opened||December 2, 1997|
|Owner||Monumental Sports and Entertainment|
|Operator||Monumental Sports and Entertainment|
|Construction cost||$260 million
($378 million in 2013 dollars)
Devrouax & Purnell
|Project manager||Seagull Bay Sports, LLC.|
|Structural engineer||Delon Hampton & Associates|
|Services engineer||John J. Christie Associates|
|Field dimensions||1,020,000 square feet (95,000 m2)|
|Public transit access||Gallery Place|
|Washington Wizards (NBA) (1997–present)
Washington Capitals (NHL) (1997–present)
Washington Mystics (WNBA) (1998–present)
Georgetown Hoyas (NCAA) (1997–present)
Washington Power (NLL) (2001–2002)
Named after its sponsor, the telecommunications company Verizon Communications, the Verizon Center has been nicknamed the "Phone Booth" by locals, because of its historical association with various telecommunications companies, such as MCI Inc. Located in the Chinatown neighborhood of Washington, D.C., the Verizon Center sits atop the Gallery Place rapid transit station of the Washington Metro.
The Verizon Center is home to the Washington Wizards of the National Basketball Association, Washington Capitals of the National Hockey League, the Georgetown University men's basketball team, the Washington Mystics of the Women's National Basketball Association, the Washington International Horse Show and was formerly the home of the Washington Power of the National Lacrosse League from 2001 to 2002. It seating capacity is 20,308 for basketball and 18,506 for hockey.
The Verizon Center is owned by Monumental Sports & Entertainment, and is situated on top of land leased from the District of Columbia. The Verizon Center was built in the mid-1990s solely with private financing and was originally owned by Abe Pollin. from 1997 to June 2010. On June 10, 2010, following Pollin's death in November 2009, the Pollin family sold Verizon Center, along with the Washington Wizards and the Washington-Baltimore area Ticketmaster franchise to Ted Leonsis, who already owned the arena's other tenant, the Washington Capitals professional hockey team. Leonsis subsequently formed a new management company called Monumental Sports & Entertainment. The Verizon Center is largely considered to be a commercial success and is regarded as one of the driving catalysts of the revitalization (and gentrification) of Washington, D.C.'s Chinatown neighborhood.
The Verizon Center, located in the Washington, D.C. neighborhood of Chinatown, originally opened on on December 2, 1997 as the MCI Center, named after its sponsor, MCI Inc. Nearly a decade later, in January 2006, Verizon Communications purchased MCI Inc., and the arena's name was changed accordingly. The following year, in 2007, the "first true indoor high-definition LED scoreboard" was installed at the Verizon Center.
- 1997, December 2: Inaugural concert performance by Barry Manilow in celebration of Abe Pollin's birthday (December 3)
- 1998: Stanley Cup Finals games 3 (June 13) and 4 (June 16): The Washington Capitals were swept in four games by the Detroit Red Wings.
- 2003, Feb 21: Michael Jordan scores 43 points, becoming the oldest player, and only player, at age 40 or older to score 40 points in an NBA game.
- 2003, March 29: Michelle Kwan gets her fifth world championship title.
- 2003, April 5: Peter Bondra passes Mike Gartner as the Washington Capitals' career scoring leader.
- 2005, April 30: Washington Wizards vs. Chicago Bulls: The Wizards win their first playoff game in nearly 17 years with a 117–99 win over the Bulls. It is the first Wizards playoff game ever held within the District of Columbia, as the team previously played at USAir Arena in Landover, Md. It is also the District's first NBA playoff game in 55 years (the last had been at Uline Arena on March 21, 1950).
- 2005, May 6: Wizards vs. Bulls: The Wizards win 94–91 over the Bulls, winning the Eastern Conference quarterfinal series, 4-2. The game marked the first playoff series victory for the Wizards in 23 years, and first playoff series win at Verizon Center.
- 2006, March 26: George Mason vs. Connecticut Huskies (NCAA men's Division I basketball Washington DC regional final): George Mason, playing in front of a mostly partisan crowd due to being located just across the Potomac River in Fairfax, Va., defeats top seeded UConn to become only the second double-digit seed to reach the NCAA Final Four.
- 2008: Wizards and Capitals both play playoff games in the building in the same calendar year for the first time.
- NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament first and second rounds: 1998, 2002, 2008; second and third rounds: 2011.
- NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament regional finals: 2006, 2013.
- WCW Starrcade 1997-2000.
- Diana Ross was scheduled to perform during her Return to Love Tour on July 9, 2000, but the show was cancelled, due to low ticket sales.
- NBA All-Star Game: 2001.
- WNBA All-Star Game: 2002, 2007.
- ISU World Figure Skating Championships: 2003.
- ACC men's basketball tournament: 2005.
- BB&T Classic Basketball Tournament: held annually.
- Mike Tyson vs. Kevin McBride: June 11, 2005, Tyson's final fight.
- Kids' Inaugural: We are the Future: Jan. 19, 2009, hosted by First Lady Michelle Obama
- NCAA's Men's 2009 Frozen Four hockey championship: 2009
- The Archdiocese of Washington Youth Rally and "Mass for Life": Every January, from 2004 to present.
- The Jonas Brothers played to a sold-out crowd on July 13, 2009, where Michelle Obama and her two daughters were in attendance.
- Lady Gaga had performed at the arena on two different occasions throughout The Monster Ball Tour and was set to perform during The Born This Way Ball Tour, on February 25, 2013, until it was canceled, due to a hip injury. She is scheduled to perform here on May 15, 2014 for her Artrave: The Artpop Ball Tour.
- The Ultimate Fighting Championship is set to have a mixed martial arts card at the center on Oct. 1, 2011.
- Beyoncé performed two sold out shows at the arena on July 29 and 30, 2013 and is set to perform on December 18, 2013 with her Mrs. Carter Show World Tour. The concert on July 29 sold out in under one minute The singer has previously performed two sold out shows at the arena before: One on June 24, 2009 as part of the I Am... Tour and the other on August 9, 2007 with The Beyoncé Experience Tour.
Two notable fan fixtures at Washington Capitals games at Verizon Center since the late '90s include Goat and The Horn Guy. "Goat," aka William Stilwell, sits in Section 105 and loudly stomps and starts cheers for the team, with his loud voice that The Washington Post once called "the loudest voice and stompiest stomp on F Street."  "The Horn Guy," aka Sam Wolk, sits in section 415 and blows out three blasts on a horn to which the arena responds "Let's Go Caps!," a chant that can be heard during all radio and TV broadcasts.
Health code violations
In August 2010 ESPN's Outside the lines reported that the Verizon Center was one of only two major sports arenas in the U.S, and the only in the NBA/NHL, in which 100% of food vendors were found with at least one "critical or major" health code violation. Violations included mice droppings in at least 10 different vending locations.
Role in Chinatown
When the arena opened there was concern  that it would lead to the displacement of Chinese businesses and culture  in the area that is the city's Chinatown. The surrounding area has indeed been dramatically gentrified, and most of the Chinese residents and businesses who lived and operated in the neighborhood when the arena first opened have been displaced because of the spike in real estate prices. The Chinese population in Chinatown is a shroud of its former self - recent estimates hold that the number of Chinese in the neighborhood is down to around 400 to 500. The Chinese-owned restaurants and businesses in the Chinatown area are largely gone and there has not been a full-service Chinese grocery in the neighborhood since 2005. In their place, new residents and visitors to the area find an increasing number of mid-tier and upscale chains, such as Hooters, Fuddruckers and Legal Sea Foods.
Ice quality issues
In December 2007, then-Capitals captain Chris Clark gained a bit of press by stating that he believed the Verizon Center had the worst ice in the NHL. "There's a lot of ruts in the ice. It's soft. It's wet half the time. I could see a lot of injuries coming from the ice there. It could cost [players] their jobs...Even guys on other teams say the same thing. When we're facing off, they say, 'How do you guys play on this?'" Caps owner Ted Leonsis addressed this criticism directly. The ice quality issue has been persistent both since the opening of Verizon Center and with the Capitals franchise in general. Since Leonsis' acquisition of Verizon Center, the quality of the ice has gotten better and number of complaints has noticeably decreased. During playoff games, the arena installs a system to help remove hot air and humidity to maintain the ice conditions during warmer times of the year.
The "Washington Mystics Attendance Champions" banners that hung at the Verizon Center had been the focal point of much criticism over the years, with many people believing that the rafters should be reserved for achievements by sports teams and not by the fans. Critics thought it was insulting to have banners for championships and retired numbers hang next to "attendance champion" banners. Originally there were six banners (1998, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003 and 2004); the number was later reduced to three in 2007 (for the first two seasons plus 2002, the only season in which the Mystics have won a playoff series to date) with the other three removed to make way for a banner honoring Final Four appearances by the Georgetown Hoyas.
The Washington City Paper had called them "embarrassing", a 2005 ESPN.com article by Todd Wright commented, "it's time to lose those Mystics attendance banners hanging from the rafters"; the Sports Road Trip website mocked the banners by stating "Oh... Mystics... WNBA 'attendance champions' in '98 and '99. Wheeeee!"
When Washington Post writer Jon Gallo was asked about the banners, he stated "The attendance banners were largely achieved because the Mystics gave away approximately 30 percent of their tickets before Sheila Johnson took over the team. If the Mystics had made everyone pay for a ticket, then they would not have had the best attendance in the league."
In the 2009 season, the Mystics once again led the WNBA in attendance at 11,338 per game; however, in an entry on his blog earlier that season, Ted Leonsis, whose Lincoln Holdings owns the Mystics, had promised that there will be no attendance banner for 2009 should the Mystics conclude the season with the attendance lead.
On Leonsis' authorization, the final remaining attendance banners were removed from the Verizon Center rafters in 2010.
- Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–2013. Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Retrieved March 31, 2013.
- Verizon Center - Ellerbe Becket
- Bailey, W. Scott (December 6, 2002). "New S.A. Sports Firm Set to Play Pivotal Pole in Big NBA Projects". San Antonio Business Journal. Retrieved February 5, 2013.
- "Verizon Center". Delon Hampton & Associates. Retrieved February 5, 2013.
- "MCI Center". Emporis.com. Retrieved September 29, 2011.
- Carrera, Katie (December 6, 2012). "Hershey Bears Play AHL Showcase at Verizon Center, Keeping Capitals Fans Entertained for One Night During NHL Lockout". The Washington Post. Retrieved February 5, 2013.
- Heath, Thomas (November 25, 2004). "On Hockey Nights, A Center of Inactivity". The Washington Post.
- Associated Press (January 7, 2006). "Name Change: MCI Center to be Verizon Center". ESPN. Retrieved February 5, 2013.
- Verizon Center shows off "first true indoor HD LED scoreboard" - Engadget
- "1949-50 Washington Capitols Schedule and Results". Basketball Reference. Retrieved February 5, 2013.
- "2011 Youth Rally and Mass for Life". Archdiocese of Washington. January 24, 2011. Retrieved February 5, 2013.
- "Beyoncé In D.C.: Pop Star Sells Out Verizon Center In Under A Minute". Huffington Post. Brandon Wetherbee. February 11, 2013. Retrieved June 28, 2013.
- Steinberg, Dan (December 14, 2006). ""I Was Blessed:" The Goat Story". The Washington Post. Retrieved May 27, 2010.
- Steinberg, Dan (October 19, 2006). "The Horn Man Blows". The Washington Post. Retrieved May 27, 2010.
- Yerdon, Joe (July 25, 2010). "ESPN Vendor Inspection: Caps' Verizon Center Dirtiest in NHL". NBC Sports. Retrieved July 26, 2010.
- lavigne, Paula; Rovegno, Lindsay (July 25, 2010). "Vendor Inspection Reports". ESPN. Retrieved July 26, 2010.
- Lowman, Stephen (January 28, 2009). "The Shrinking of Chinatown". The Washington Post. Retrieved January 29, 2009.
- Nakamura, David (July 1, 2011). "Wah Luck House Maintains Culture of Dying D.C. Chinatown". The Washington Post. Retrieved July 10, 2011.
- Ted's Take - Toughness, December 6, 2007
- Steinberg, Dan (February 10, 2009). "The Caps and Bad Ice: A History". The Washington Post. Retrieved February 10, 2009.
- McKenna, Dave (June 30, 2006). "Cheap Seats: In With the Out: The Mystics Embrace Their Trustiest Fans". Washington City Paper. Retrieved February 5, 2013.
- "Venue Visitation: 107 and Counting". ESPN Radio. July 26, 2005. Retrieved February 5, 2013.
- Washington Wizards, The Ultimate Sports Road Trip website
- Gallo, Jon (August 18, 2006). "Washington Mystics". The Washington Post. Retrieved August 18, 2006.
- WNBA Attendance: 09 Season Summary, WomensBasketballOnline.Com
- Ted's Take: Mystics Lead WNBA in Attendance After First Report, July 13, 2009
- Ted's Take: Washington Mystics Attendance Banners, May 7, 2010
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