Qatari sovereign fund takes stake in Capital One Arena owner MSE

MSE’s Capital One Arena

Featured image credit: Daniel Lobo / CCO 1.0 / Edited for size

Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) has taken a stake in the owner of Washington’s major league basketball and hockey teams, marking the first investment by a sovereign wealth fund in US sport.

Monumental Sports & Entertainment (MSE), the owner of Capital One Arena, the NHL’s Washington Capitals and NBA’s Washington Wizards, announced that QIA has become a minority investor in the company.

The Financial Times and others report that the fund has acquired 5% of MSE in a deal worth around $200m, but will not gain board representation. The deal required approval from the sports leagues and rival teams before being completed.

In a statement following the transaction, MSE said: “As one of the largest integrated sports and entertainment companies in the country, MSE’s platform provides unique opportunities and scalability for growth and partnerships. Located in the nation’s capital and one of the most powerful cities in the world, MSE’s brands are consumed by an audience with a global perspective.”

MSE owns and operates seven professional and amateur team franchises, six venues and two media networks.

Among its global investments, QIA is the principal owner of CityCenterDC, the mixed-use development that is located just a few blocks from the Capital One Arena. However, it is the separate Qatar Sports Investments (QSI) which has owned Paris St Germain since 2011, while QIA is also said to have no involvement with Sheikh Jassim’s bid for Manchester United.

As well as its ownership of the Wizards and Capitals, MSE’s portfolio includes WNBA’s Washington Mystics, NBA G League’s Capital City Go-Go, and the 2021 and 2020 NBA 2K League Champion Wizards District Gaming and Caps Gaming, an esports sub-brand of the Capitals. MSE is also a co-owner of aXiomatic, which has a controlling interest in global esports franchise Team Liquid.

In March 2023, MSE opened District E Powered by Ticketmaster, the east coast’s largest venue for esports and entertainment.

QIA is a shareholder in many major US companies across a range of sectors, including real estate, technology, consumer goods and healthcare.

“The investment in MSE is consistent with QIA’s focus on long-term, high-value investments,” MSE said.