Iconic DC arena changes name


Noah Gross

Monumental Sports & Entertainment currently owns the 20,000 seat arena, formerly known as the Verizon Center, which hosts a variety of events year round. These events range from professional basketball, hockey, and indoor football games, to concerts for world famous artists including Drake and Adele. In 2016, the Verizon Center hosted 218 total events and had 2.7 million attend them. The Verizon Center also ranked 8th nationwide for top gross income of venues that seat 15,000 or more.

However, this beloved DC arena has changed its name from the Verizon Center, to the Capital One Arena. Capital One Financial Court, is a credit card and banking behemoth whose roots are in McLean, Virginia. They also hold naming rights to Capital One Field, the University of Maryland’s football field. Ted Leonsis, owner of Monumental Sports, is responsible for controlling the name rights of the arena. In a Washington Post Article, Leonsis says the name change represents his company’s “commitment to economic growth, philanthropy and community here in the DMV.”

In 1997, Verizon and Monumental Sports agreed to a 20 year, 80 million dollar contract creating the Verizon Center. As the 20 deal comes to an end, Capital One bought the naming rights from Leonsis for 100 million dollars over the course of 10 years.

Leonsis has said that he plans to make vast improvements to the Capital One Arena including a 40 million dollar technological renovation which includes an imperative fixing of its leaky roof. He also intends on creating a 55 million dollar practice facility for the Wizards and Mystics in Congress Heights.

The Verizon Center is the most recent DC sports arena to change its name, but the Nationals are currently looking for a company to buy Nats Parks naming rights. It may take DC residents years to adjust to the name change, but Capital One Arena is here to stay.