Monumental asking D.C. for $600M for Capital One Arena, sources say

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Monumental Sports & Entertainment, which owns the Wizards, Capitals and Mystics, has asked D.C. for $600 million of public funding for a major renovation of Capital One Arena, according to two people with knowledge of the situation.

The funding would make up the bulk of an $800 million renovation plan Monumental has outlined to the city, according to the two people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive negotiations. The remaining $200 million would be covered by Monumental, which is owned by founder and chief executive Ted Leonsis.

One of the people outlined the ask: Monumental would receive the $600 million over four years and use it mostly on construction. The major priorities are to transform the seating bowl — fewer nosebleed seats, more seats close to the court and ice — as well as add a food court that would be open during nongame hours and a new, glassy entrance at Seventh and F streets. Monumental wants to do incremental construction over four consecutive summers, starting in 2024, to avoid disrupting the playing seasons of the Capitals or Wizards, this person said.

A spokesperson for D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) issued a lengthy statement that she said was jointly attributable to Monumental.

“The District and Monumental Sports are proud to have had a longstanding and positive relationship that has contributed greatly the vibrancy of this city,” the spokesperson wrote. “ … The District recognizes that Capital One Arena serves as an important economic anchor as we continue to reimagine and reinvigorate our Downtown.”

Monumental’s request is the second the city has received in recent months. In September, an executive for the sports business group owned by the Lerner family, which owns the Nationals, sent local leaders a letter asking the city to repurpose a special pot of money in the general fund into a “Ballpark Modernization & Sustainability Fund.”

Bowser (D) must juggle requests from the wealthy sports owners with a host of other issues, including onerous budgetary constraints, a struggling downtown and the looming competition with Maryland and Virginia over the next Commanders stadium.

Bowser, a vocal champion for the Commanders to return to the site of RFK Stadium, recently met with skeptical community members as she waits for a bill that would give the city control of the federal RFK site to advance through Congress. Maryland Gov. Wes Moore (D) has already said he’d support giving the football team public funds for the construction of a stadium in his state.

Last month, Bowser’s administration selected two contractors for a $394,000 “sports study” to consider ways to fund a Commanders stadium, as well as address the financial requests of the other sports franchises, which are owned by Leonsis, the Lerners and private equity billionaire Josh Harris (Commanders).

The owners’ asks of the city come as franchise values…

Read More: Monumental asking D.C. for $600M for Capital One Arena, sources say 2023-11-04 01:06:32

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