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Sunday, April 21, 2024
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D.C. Attorney General Says Capitals and Wizards Can’t Leave Until 2047

  • The letter was sent to Monumental Sports on Monday.
  • Leonsis spoke with the Maryland governor earlier this week about a possible move.
Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Ted Leonsis’s week started out with a talk with Maryland governor Wes Moore about possibly moving his teams north of the Potomac and ended with the publication of a message from the D.C. attorney general: The Wizards and Capitals aren’t going anywhere until at least 2047. 

Monday, D.C. attorney general Brian Schwalb sent a letter to Monumental Sports, Leonsis’s umbrella organization for the Capitals and Wizards. The letter was first published today on X (formerly known as Twitter) by Ben Dennis of DC News Now. In it, Schwalb cited a bond/lease agreement from 2007 that he says binds the teams to the city through ’47 and is unbreakable, even if Monumental pays off the existing bond debt. 

“The Council expressly conditioned that public financing on [DC Arena LP’s] commitment to extend the original ground lease for an additional 20 years … ensuring the District and its taxpayers that the Wizards and the Capitals would continue to play their home games at the Arena through 2047,” Schwalb said in the letter. (A representative from Monumental Sports told Front Office Sports, “We fundamentally disagree with the Attorney General’s opinions.”) 

Earlier this week, Leonsis spoke with Moore about potentially moving the team to Maryland a few weeks after his plans for a new arena and entertainment complex in Alexandria, Va., were left out of the state’s budget. It’s unclear whether Leonsis or Moore initiated the conversation over a potential move. Leonsis previously had a handshake agreement with Virginia governor Glenn Youngkin, but the state legislature was left out of the loop and is concerned about subsidizing a billionaire. 

Leonsis would have similar hurdles with the state’s legislature if he attempted to move the team to Maryland, and he has expressed optimism about eventually moving the team to Virginia. 

It’s unclear whether Monumental Sports will pursue legal action in light of the attorney general’s letter. 

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