Design & Development

Monumental presents Capitals, Wizards arena plan for Virginia


Monumental Sports & Entertainment (MSE), parent company of the NBA’s Washington Wizards and NHL’s Washington Capitals, has today (Wednesday) announced that it has reached the framework of an agreement for a public-private partnership to create a world-class entertainment district in Alexandria, Virginia, that would house a new arena for the two franchises.

Should the proposal become finalised, pending legislative approval and completion of definitive documents, the Capitals and Wizards would relocate to Virginia in 2028. Today’s announcement comes just days after it was reported that lawmakers in Virginia had backed a proposal to build a new arena in Alexandria, which is located just over eight miles from Washington D.C..

MSE’s founder, chairman, principal partner and CEO, Ted Leonsis, said today: “We are committed to providing world-class fan experiences while continuously evolving our teams, deepening community ties, and solidifying our role as leaders at the forefront of sports and technology

“The opportunity to expand to this 70-acre site in Virginia, neighbouring industry-leading innovators, and a great academic partner, would enable us to further our creativity and achieve next-generation, leading work – all while keeping our fans and the community at the forefront of everything we do.”  

The entertainment district would include a new Monumental campus featuring the global corporate headquarters for MSE, an “industry-leading arena” for both the Capitals and Wizards, a state-of-the-art Monumental Sports Network media studio, the Wizards practice facility, a performing arts venue, and an expanded esports facility, in addition to bringing new retail, restaurants, conference, and community gathering spaces.

This would build on Monumental’s existing presence in Northern Virginia, where the Capitals house their practice facility and where the company manages EagleBank Arena on the George Mason University campus. MSE’s partners in the public-private partnership include the Commonwealth of Virginia, the City of Alexandria, and JBG SMITH.    

The Capitals and Wizards’ current home in Washington D.C., Capital One Arena, opened in 1997 and the Washington Post this week reported that Monumental is seeking $600m (£478.4m/€555.3m) in public funds for a major renovation of the facility.

Monumental today said it is “excited” about the potential opportunity to update Capital One Arena to be the future home of the WNBA’s Washington Mystics, increasing the company’s investment in the team and creating a gameday experience tailored specifically for the Mystics.

Monumental said its goal would be to update Capital One Arena to serve as a “unique, flexible arena” that could host 10,000-20,000 people and continue to stage world-class live entertainment spanning music, comedy, cultural and sports performances, including family-friendly entertainment, and collegiate competitions.

MSE said: “Monumental envisions Capital One Arena as maintaining its position as a vital and vibrant point of connection in downtown D.C. Moreover, in the future, the Monumental team would be able to secure more family shows and accommodate annual bookings and mini-residencies that require long-term planning, which is currently not possible with the seasonal changes from the NBA and NHL’s game schedules.

“If permitted, Monumental would continue to invest in Capital One Arena and maintain its standing as a premier sports and entertainment destination as well as one of the busiest arenas in the nation.”     

Since taking over majority control of Capital One Arena in 2010, Leonsis has invested over $200m in the building – more than the original cost of $170m to build the arena in 1997. In the last five years alone, Monumental has invested or planned investments that total well over $125m – and MSE said those green-lit investments will continue to be implemented.

MSE’s announcement today comes after D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson yesterday set out legislation to fund a rival renovation plan for Capital One Arena. The legislation outlines financing of $500m towards the $800m project over a three-year period commencing in 2024.

Leonsis added: “Sports are a unifying force in our community, and we are working to build a lasting legacy over multiple generations and lift all of our neighbours towards a shared sense of prosperity.

“Our business needs have changed dramatically since our current arena opened in 1997. We are a multi-faceted sports and entertainment enterprise with teams, venues, and media networks.

“Throughout its history, Monumental Sports has undergone remarkable growth. And, with this public-private partnership with the Commonwealth of Virginia, the City of Alexandria, and JBG SMITH, we anticipate an even more dynamic future.

“We believe this expansion would enable us to uphold our commitment to building an exceptional experience for our fans, employees, and partners.”  

In July, Monumental received a minority investment from the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA). Reports at the time suggested that QIA had acquired 5% of the company in a deal worth around $200m.