Already one of sports’ busiest executives, Monumental Sports & Entertainment chairman Ted Leonsis is now asking big questions about the future of the 25-year-old Capital One Arena.
After bringing in Qatari investment, rebranding his company’s regional sports network, playing an active role in the NBA trade market, and possibly relaunching efforts to buy the Washington Nationals, the owner of the Wizards, Capitals, and Mystics is evaluating venue options on both sides of the Potomac River.
Monumental has held exploratory talks with Virginia government officials about moving the Washington Wizards and Capitals to Northern Virginia, according to the Washington Post. It’s also conducting parallel talks with D.C. leaders about potential improvements to Capital One Arena.
The building — owned by Monumental but operating with a ground lease on city-owned land — is now one of the oldest in both the NHL and NBA and falling behind in new revenue despite renovation projects in 2007 and 2019, as well as nearly $125 million in total MSE arena investment since 2010. Leonsis could exit the ground lease as soon as 2027.
Discussions between Monumental and D.C. have also focused on development and crime trends in the arena’s Chinatown neighborhood.
“MSE has had great engagement with Mayor [Muriel] Bowser to ensure we maintain the greatest fan experience in and around Capital One Arena,” Monumental said. “We are celebrating the 25th anniversary of the arena this year and will continue to invest to build a best-in-class operation for the next 25 years.”