Capital One Arena
Exterior of the arena in 2008
|Former names||MCI Center (1997–2006)|
Verizon Center (2006–2017)
|Address||601 F Street NW|
|Public transit||Washington Metro |
at Gallery Place
|Owner||Monumental Sports & Entertainment|
|Operator||Monumental Sports & Entertainment|
|Field size||1,020,000 square feet (95,000 m2)|
|Broke ground||October 18, 1995|
|Opened||December 2, 1997|
|Construction cost||US$260 million|
($406 million in 2018 dollars)
Devrouax & Purnell
|Project manager||Seagull Bay Sports, LLC.|
|Structural engineer||Delon Hampton & Associates|
|Services engineer||John J. Christie Associates|
|Washington Wizards (NBA) (1997–present)|
Washington Capitals (NHL) (1997–present)
Georgetown Hoyas (NCAA) (1997–present)
Washington Mystics (WNBA) (1998–2018)
Washington Power (NLL) (2001–2002)
Washington Valor (AFL) (2017–present)
Capital One Arena is an indoor arena in Washington, D.C. Owned by Monumental Sports & Entertainment, it is the home arena of the Washington Capitals of the National Hockey League, the Washington Wizards of the National Basketball Association, the Georgetown University men's basketball team, and the Washington Valor of the Arena Football League. It was also home to the Washington Mystics of the Women's National Basketball Association from 1998 to 2018, but that team will move to the new St. Elizabeths East Arena in southeast Washington, beginning with the 2019 season.
Located in the Chinatown neighborhood of Washington, D.C., the Capital One Arena sits atop the Gallery Place rapid transit station of the Washington Metro. The arena has been largely considered to be a commercial success and is regarded as one of the driving catalysts of the revitalization of Washington, D.C.'s Chinatown neighborhood.
The arena was built in the mid-1990s solely with private financing by Abe Pollin, and is situated on top of land leased from the District of Columbia. It opened on December 2, 1997, as the MCI Center. Nearly a decade later, in January 2006, Verizon Communications purchased MCI and the arena's name was changed accordingly to Verizon Center. The following year, in 2007, the "first true indoor high-definition LED scoreboard" was installed in the arena.
On June 10, 2010, following Pollin's death in November 2009, the Pollin family sold the arena, 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. Leonsis subsequently formed a new management company, Monumental Sports & Entertainment.
A report emerged in May 2015 that Verizon would not renew its naming rights to the Verizon Center when its agreement with Monumental was to end in 2018. In the same week, it was announced that Etihad Airways signed a deal to become the official airline of the arena, sparking speculation that Etihad might be the leading contender to assume naming rights in 2017. However, on August 9, 2017, it was announced the bank Capital One had purchased the rights, renaming the venue Capital One Arena.
The Washington Valor began play at the arena for their inaugural season in the Arena Football League. The Mystics will move after the 2018 WNBA season to a new, smaller arena nearing completion in the Congress Heights area of southeast Washington.
The venue also hosted both the 1998 Stanley Cup Finals and the 2018 Stanley Cup Finals, the latter of which saw the Capitals win the first Stanley Cup championship in team history, and the first major sports championship to Washington D.C. since the 1992 Washington Redskins.
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. 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.
Ice quality issues
In December 2007, then-Capitals captain Chris Clark gained a bit of press by stating that he believed the arena 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?'" Capitals owner Ted Leonsis addressed this criticism directly. The ice quality issue has been persistent both since the opening of the facility and with the Capitals franchise in general. Since Leonsis' acquisition of the facility, the quality of the ice has gotten better[according to whom?] 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.
- 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. Retrieved November 11, 2011.
- Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis Community Development Project. "Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–". Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Retrieved January 2, 2019.
- "Verizon Center". AECOM. Retrieved September 29, 2017.
- Bailey, W. Scott (December 6, 2002). "New S.A. Sports Firm Set to Play Pivotal Pole in Big NBA Projects". San Antonio Business Journal. Archived from the original on 2012-07-13. Retrieved February 5, 2013.
- "Verizon Center". Delon Hampton & Associates. Archived from the original on 2012-04-02. Retrieved February 5, 2013.
- "MCI Center". Emporis.com. Retrieved September 29, 2011.
- "Name Change: MCI Center to be Verizon Center". ESPN. Associated Press. January 7, 2006. Retrieved February 5, 2013.
- "Verizon Center Shows off "First True Indoor HD LED Scoreboard"". Engadget. September 28, 2007. Archived from the original on 2011-07-23. Retrieved November 11, 2011.
- Nakamura, David (December 2, 2007). "Verizon Center Marks 10th Anniversary". The Washington Post. Retrieved January 17, 2014.
- Hobson, Will. "Verizon still mulling whether to renew naming rights to Verizon Center". Washington Post.
- "Report: Verizon will not renew arena naming rights". WUSA9.
- Clabaugh, Jeff. "Monumental Sports & Entertainment teams with international airline in sponsorship deal". Washington Business Journal.
- "MSE and Capital One Announce New Arena Naming Rights Partnership" (Press release). Washington Wizards. August 9, 2017. Retrieved September 29, 2017.
- "MSE and Capital One Announce New Arena Naming Rights Partnership" (Press release). Washington Capitals. August 9, 2017. Retrieved September 29, 2017.
- Steinberg, Dan (August 9, 2017). "Verizon Center to become Capital One Arena, starting now". The Washington Post. Retrieved September 29, 2017.
- Ted Leonsis to announce D.C. is getting an Arena Football League team, Scott Allen, The Washington Post, March 10, 2016
- O'Connell, Jonathan (September 22, 2016). "A sneak peek at the new Wizards practice center, designed for sports and community alike". The Washington Post. Retrieved October 14, 2017.
- 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.
- Leonsis, Ted (December 6, 2007). "Toughness". Ted's Take. Retrieved December 6, 2007.
- Steinberg, Dan (February 10, 2009). "The Caps and Bad Ice: A History". The Washington Post. Retrieved February 10, 2009.
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