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Sunday, April 14, 2024
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Ted Leonsis’s Quest for Public Money Leads to Maryland, per Report

  • ‘The Baltimore Banner’ reports the mogul recently met with Maryland governor Wes Moore.
  • Virginia’s state government recently killed Leonsis’s chance to move the team to Alexandria.
Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

After failing to secure public funding for a new arena in Alexandria, Va., Ted Leonsis is still on the hunt for free money for his sports teams. This time he went to the other side of the Potomac River. 

According to The Baltimore Banner, Leonsis recently talked with Maryland governor Wes Moore to discuss the idea of moving the Capitals and Wizards north of Washington, D.C. 

Both Gov. Moore’s office and Leonsis’s company declined to offer on-the-record comment to Front Office Sports on the Banner’s report or on topics including which side initiated the conversation, making it unclear whether Leonsis is seeking leverage or simply in search of an amiable chat. 

Leonsis is back meeting with governors after Virginia’s Senate left the money for a $2 billion, 12-acre site out of its budget March 7, seemingly killing the deal. While Leonsis and Virginia governor Glenn Youngkin had a handshake agreement, the state Senate didn’t appreciate getting left out of the process and was concerned about subsidizing a billionaire. 

The nation’s capital still has an offer of $500 million in public funds on the table. The money would go to upgrade Capital One Arena, the current home of the Wizards and Capitals. Leonsis originally sought $600 million, but the city increased its original offer of $400 million in an attempt to get the teams to stay. 

Should the Maryland play be serious, Leonsis would face challenges similar to the ones he dealt with in Virginia—mainly the state Senate. According to the Banner, the state assembly has not been approached about subsidizing a potential move. The legislative session would have less than a month to add the project to its budget negotiations, making an imminent deal unlikely. 

Maryland has other sports-related issues to deal with, mainly keeping the Washington Commanders within state lines after private equity tycoon Josh Harris added the team to his sports portfolio in July 2023. Harris said the team plans to build a new stadium in the coming years without having a specific site determined. Maryland has committed $400 million in bonds to development projects around Commanders Field, but it has not set aside money to renovate the stadium itself.

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