The majority owner of the Washington Capitals and Washington Wizards, Ted Leonsis, is expected to join Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin at a Wednesday morning event in Potomac Yard.
The majority owner of the Washington Capitals and Washington Wizards, Ted Leonsis, is expected to appear with Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin Wednesday morning and announce plans to move the teams to Potomac Yard in Alexandria.
A source familiar with the matter confirmed details of the Potomac Yard event to WTOP. It indicates that an agreement to bring the franchises to Virginia has all but reached the finish line, despite efforts from D.C. to keep the teams in the District.
Wednesday’s event, first reported by the Washington Business Journal, is expected to begin at 9 a.m. in three tents that have been put up at 3405 Potomac Ave. in Alexandria.
Following news of the announcement, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser released details Tuesday night of the city’s “best and final offer” to keep the Wizards and Capitals in Capital One Arena in the Chinatown section of the Penn Quarter neighborhood.
The legislationunveiled by Bowser and D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson would put $500 million in city funding toward the renovation and modernization of Capital One Arena.
“Downtown DC is the District’s economic engine that provides revenue resources to support important programs in the city. Mr. Leonsis and Monumental Sports have been critical partners in keeping our downtown thriving, especially after the pandemic,” Bowser said in a news release. “The modernization of the Capital One Arena will be an invaluable investment for continued success and our future prosperity.”
According to the bill, the arena’s current lease with Monumental Sports & Entertainment, which owns both teams, would be extended to 2052 with financing for upgrades distributed over a three-year period, starting next year. The legislation also states the Capitals and the Wizards would not be able to relocate outside the District until the end of the lease.
D.C.’s bill comes after a plan was approved Monday by 12 state lawmakers who make up Virginia’s Major Employment and Investment Project Approval Commission would involve the Wizards and Capitals moving from Capital One Arena to an 8-million-square-foot complex in Potomac Yard. The Washington Post first reported details of the Monday meeting and commission approval.
The new Virginia site would include a stadium with facilities for both teams, a large underground parking lot and a separate 3,000-seat concert venue. It would be located near Amazon’s new HQ2 development in the National Landing area and the newly-opened Potomac Yard Metro station.
Although a source familiar with the plans told WTOP that Leonsis — the founder and CEO of Monumental Sports & Entertainment, which owns both teams — is moving forward with the relocation, it’s not a done deal.
The proposal still requires additional approvals from the state’s General Assembly and the Alexandria City Council, something Gerren Price, president and CEO of DowntownDC Business Improvement District, said could prove difficult to get.
Preliminary talks about the move started in June, when representatives from Monumental began planning out the Alexandria site, while also bargaining with D.C. officials about the need to improve Capital One Arena. Monumental later asked D.C. officials for $600 million in public funding for a major renovation plan, according to reporting from The Washington Post.
“Securing a deal to keep the Capitals and Wizards in downtown D.C. is critical to the economic future of downtown and the city as a whole,” Price said in a statement.
“We recognize that Monumental must consider offers from other jurisdictions in order to make the best possible business decision for their operations, but we strongly believe that keeping these teams in the city will yield the highest regular attendance of any site in the region,” Price said.
In a statement provided Monday to WTOP, a spokesperson with Monumental said the company’s commitment to serving the region is “unwavering and we look forward to sharing plans for future investments.”
WTOP’s Ciara Wells contributed to this report.
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