Capital One Arena

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Coordinates: 38°53′53″N 77°1′15″W / 38.89806°N 77.02083°W / 38.89806; -77.02083

Capital One Arena
Capital One Arena logo.svg
Capital one arena.jpg
Capital One Arena in 2021
Former namesMCI Center (1997–2006)
Verizon Center (2006–2017)
Address601 F Street NW
LocationWashington, D.C.
Public transitWMATA Metro Logo small.svg Washington Metro
WMATA Red.svgWMATA Green.svgWMATA Yellow.svg at Gallery Place
OwnerMonumental Sports & Entertainment
Capacity20,356 (basketball)
18,573 (ice hockey)[6][7]
Broke groundOctober 18, 1995
OpenedDecember 2, 1997
Construction costUS$260 million
($442 million in 2020 dollars[1])
ArchitectEllerbe Becket[2]
Devrouax & Purnell[2]
KCF-SHG Architects[2]
Project managerJohn Stranix and Seagull Bay Sports, LLC.[4]
Structural engineerDelon Hampton & Associates[3]
Services engineerJohn J. Christie Associates[2]
General contractorClark/Smoot[5]
Washington Wizards (NBA) 1997–present
Washington Capitals (NHL) 1997–present
Georgetown Hoyas (NCAA) 1997–present
Washington Mystics (WNBA) 1998–2018
Washington Power (NLL) 2001–2002
Washington Valor (AFL) 2017–2019
Venue Website

Capital One Arena is an indoor arena in Washington, D.C. Located in the Penn Quarter neighborhood, the arena sits atop the Gallery Place rapid transit station of the Washington Metro. It has been largely considered to be a commercial success and is regarded as one of the driving catalysts of the revitalization of Washington, D.C.'s Chinatown neighborhood.[8]

Owned and operated by Monumental Sports & Entertainment, it is the home arena of the Washington Capitals of the National Hockey League (NHL), the Washington Wizards of the National Basketball Association (NBA), and the Georgetown University men's basketball team. It was also home to the Washington Mystics of the Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) from 1998 to 2018 until they moved to the St. Elizabeths East Entertainment and Sports Arena in southeast Washington for the 2019 season.


The block where the arena was built, between 6th and 7th and F and G Streets, historically held a mix of residences and small businesses.[9] By the 1960s, it was suffering from urban decay, like much of the eastern end of Downtown Washington.[9] In 1973, while the Gallery Place Metro station was being developed below it, the District government bought the land in hopes of redeveloping it.[10] Capital Landmark Associates was selected in 1979 to develop the site with a planned mixed-use complex including retail, offices, apartments, and a hotel.[10] Most of the remaining buildings on the site were demolished in 1985.[9] The project languished for many years but never materialized, and was finally canceled in 1992.[9]

Before the arena's opening, the Capitals and the Wizards (then known as the Washington Bullets) played at USAir Arena in the Washington suburb of Landover, Maryland. The teams experienced subpar attendance because the location was inconvenient for both Washington and Baltimore residents, and their arena, though only 20 years old, was not up to the standards of other NBA and NHL venues.[11][12][13] In December 1993, Abe Pollin, the owner of both teams, began studying options to move the teams to a new arena to be built with public financing, with possible locations including Baltimore, downtown Washington, and Laurel, Maryland.[14][15]

A group of Washington business leaders brokered a deal between Pollin and the District government to build an arena at the Gallery Place site, with the District paying for the $150-million project.[16][17][18] The D.C. Council approved a special tax on businesses to finance the deal.[18] However, a competing proposal soon emerged, when Robert Johnson, head of Black Entertainment Television, offered to build the arena with mostly private financing.[19] With the arena deal facing criticism amid the District's budget crisis, Pollin eventually agreed to privately fund the construction of the building, which ultimately came to $200 million.[20][21] The District would pay for other costs, including purchasing the portion of the land it did not already own, preparing the site, and expanding the Metro station; these eventually amounted to $79 million.[21][22] The District leased the land to Pollin at a below-market rate of $300,000 per year.[23][24]

A naming rights deal was struck with MCI Communications to name the arena as the MCI Center.[25] The groundbreaking ceremony for the project was held in October 1995.[26] On December 2, 1997, the arena held its first event, a game between the Wizards and the Seattle SuperSonics, with President Bill Clinton in attendance.[27]

In 1999, a group led by technology executive Ted Leonsis bought a 36% stake in Pollin's holdings, including the MCI Center, as well as full ownership of the Capitals.[28][29] The Leonsis group increased its stake to 44% in 2000.[29]

Capital One Arena, then the Verizon Center in 2008

In January 2006, Verizon Communications purchased MCI and the arena's name was changed accordingly to Verizon Center.[8] The following year, in 2007, the "first true indoor high-definition LED scoreboard" was installed in the arena.[30][31]

In June 2010, following Pollin's death in November 2009, the Leonsis group, newly organized as Monumental Sports & Entertainment, bought out Pollin's interests, gaining full ownership of the arena and the Wizards.[32]

A report emerged in May 2015 that Verizon would not renew its naming rights to the Verizon Center when its agreement with Monumental was to end in 2018.[33][34] In the same week, it was announced that Etihad Airways signed a deal to become the official airline of the arena, sparking speculation that Etihad might be the leading contender to assume naming rights in 2017.[35] However, on August 9, 2017, it was announced the bank Capital One had purchased the rights, renaming the venue Capital One Arena.[36][37][38]

In July 2020, bookmaker William Hill opened a sportsbook at the arena, following the 2018 legalization of sports betting in Washington.[39] It was the first brick-and-mortar sportsbook in the District, and the first to open at a professional sports venue in the United States.[39]

Tenants and events[edit]

In the professional fighting world, the arena was home to Mike Tyson's final fight (Mike Tyson vs. Kevin McBride) on June 11, 2005[40] and on October 1, 2011, UFC Live: Cruz vs. Johnson was held at the arena.[41]

The arena has hosted NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament rounds several times, with first and second round events in 1998, 2002, 2008 and 2011 and hosted the regional finals in 2006, 2013 and 2019.[42] Most notably the 2005–06 George Mason Patriots men's basketball team advanced to the Final Four in the arena. The arena hosted the 2009 "Frozen Four," the final round of the 2009 NCAA Division I Men's Ice Hockey Tournament.

The arena has hosted two all star games: the 2001 NBA All-Star Game and the 2007 WNBA All-Star Game.

The arena hosted the 2016 Kellogg's Tour of Gymnastics Champions.[43]

In 2017, the Washington Valor began play at the arena for their inaugural season in the Arena Football League.[44] The Mystics moved after the 2018 WNBA season to a new, smaller arena in the Congress Heights area of southeast Washington.[45]

The venue also hosted both the 1998 Stanley Cup Finals and the 2018 Stanley Cup Finals, the latter of which saw the Capitals win the first Stanley Cup championship in team history, and the first major sports championship to Washington, D.C. since the 1991 Washington Redskins.

On October 2, 2019, the Capital One Arena hosted AEW Dynamite, the first televised professional wrestling event by All Elite Wrestling. It was broadcast on TNT in the United States of America and on ITV4 in the United Kingdom.[46][47]

On December 7, 2019, UFC on ESPN: Overeem vs. Rozenstruik was held at the arena.



When the arena opened, there was concern that it would lead to the displacement of Chinese businesses and culture in the area that is the city's Chinatown.[48] The surrounding area has indeed been dramatically gentrified, and most of the Chinese residents and businesses who lived and operated in the neighborhood when the arena first opened have been displaced because of the spike in real estate prices.[49] Recent estimates hold that the number of Chinese in the neighborhood is down to around 400 to 500.[49] The Chinese-owned restaurants and businesses in the Chinatown area are largely gone and there has not been a full-service Chinese grocery in the neighborhood since 2005.[49]

Ice quality issues[edit]

In December 2007, then-Capitals captain Chris Clark gained a bit of press by stating that he believed the arena had the worst ice in the NHL. "There's a lot of ruts in the ice. It's soft. It's wet half the time. I could see a lot of injuries coming from the ice there. It could cost [players] their jobs... Even guys on other teams say the same thing. When we're facing off, they say, 'How do you guys play on this?'" Capitals owner Ted Leonsis addressed this criticism directly.[50] The ice quality issue has been persistent both since the opening of the facility and with the Capitals franchise in general.[51] Since Leonsis' acquisition of the facility, the quality of the ice has gotten better[according to whom?] and number of complaints has noticeably decreased. During playoff games, the arena installs a system to help remove hot air and humidity to maintain the ice conditions during warmer times of the year.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ 1634–1699: McCusker, J. J. (1997). How Much Is That in Real Money? A Historical Price Index for Use as a Deflator of Money Values in the Economy of the United States: Addenda et Corrigenda (PDF). American Antiquarian Society. 1700–1799: McCusker, J. J. (1992). How Much Is That in Real Money? A Historical Price Index for Use as a Deflator of Money Values in the Economy of the United States (PDF). American Antiquarian Society. 1800–present: Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. "Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–". Retrieved January 1, 2020.
  2. ^ a b c d "Verizon Center". AECOM. Retrieved September 29, 2017.
  3. ^ "Verizon Center". Delon Hampton & Associates. Archived from the original on 2012-04-02. Retrieved February 5, 2013.
  4. ^ Bailey, W. Scott (December 6, 2002). "New S.A. Sports Firm Set to Play Pivotal Pole in Big NBA Projects". San Antonio Business Journal. Archived from the original on 2012-07-13. Retrieved February 5, 2013.
  5. ^ "MCI Center". Retrieved September 29, 2011.
  6. ^ Carrera, Katie (December 6, 2012). "Hershey Bears Play AHL Showcase at Verizon Center, Keeping Capitals Fans Entertained for One Night During NHL Lockout". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on April 12, 2013. Retrieved February 5, 2013.
  7. ^ Heath, Thomas (November 25, 2004). "On Hockey Nights, A Center of Inactivity". The Washington Post. Retrieved November 11, 2011.
  8. ^ a b "Name Change: MCI Center to be Verizon Center". ESPN. Associated Press. January 7, 2006. Retrieved February 5, 2013.
  9. ^ a b c d Maryann Haggerty (September 4, 1995). "The Place that lost its heart". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2021-08-01.
  10. ^ a b Joel Glenn Brenner (October 30, 1989). "What happened to Gallery Place?". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2021-08-01.
  11. ^ Ken Rosenthal (December 9, 1993). "Bullets, Capitals at Camden Yards?". The Baltimore Sun – via NewsBank.
  12. ^ Mark Hyman (December 24, 1993). "Pollin won't rule out a move downtown". The Baltimore Sun – via NewsBank.
  13. ^ Thomas Boswell (December 4, 1993). "It's not pretty, but it does the job". The Daily Oklahoman. Washington Post – via
  14. ^ "Bullets, Caps might leave home arena". News & Record. Greensboro, NC. December 27, 1993 – via NewsBank.
  15. ^ "Bullets, Capitals off to new arena?". The Miami Herald. December 11, 1993 – via NewsBank.
  16. ^ Jon Morgan (June 8, 1994). "Pollin, D.C. talking deal on moving to Washington". The Baltimore Sun – via NewsBank.
  17. ^ "City nears deal on sports arena". The Washington Times. June 4, 1994 – via NewsBank.
  18. ^ a b "Funding set for D.C. sports arena". The Star-Ledger. Newark, NJ. July 20, 1994 – via NewsBank.
  19. ^ Adrianne Flynn; Matt Neufeld (August 11, 1994). "D.C. officials cautious about offer to fund arena". The Washington Times – via NewsBank.
  20. ^ Adrianne Flynn (December 24, 1994). "Pollin offers to pay for downtown sports arena". The Washington Times – via NewsBank.
  21. ^ a b Cheryl W. Thompson (April 30, 1998). "City paying for police at MCI Center". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2021-08-01.
  22. ^ Final Status on the Sports Arena (PDF) (Report). United States General Accounting Office. July 1998. pp. 1–3. Retrieved 2021-08-01.
  23. ^ Robert J. Terry (June 22, 2012). "30 Years: MCI Center opens in East End". Washington Business Journal. Retrieved 2021-08-01.
  24. ^ Status of the Sports Arena (PDF) (Report). United States General Accounting Office. November 1997. p. 13. Retrieved 2021-08-01.
  25. ^ Lorraine Woellert (June 8, 1995). "For downtown arena, future is now". The Washington Times – via NewsBank.
  26. ^ Lorraine Woellert (October 19, 1995). "Pollin digs in for arena". The Washington Times – via NewsBank.
  27. ^ Stephen Dinan; Gerald Mizejewski (December 3, 1997). "First night in a new home". The Washington Times – via NewsBank.
  28. ^ Jerry Bembry (May 13, 1999). "Pollin sells part of sports empire". The Baltimore Sun – via NewsBank.
  29. ^ a b Eric Fisher (January 12, 2000). "Leonsis gains more control". The Washington Times – via NewsBank.
  30. ^ "Verizon Center Shows off "First True Indoor HD LED Scoreboard"". Engadget. September 28, 2007. Archived from the original on 2011-07-23. Retrieved November 11, 2011.
  31. ^ Nakamura, David (December 2, 2007). "Verizon Center Marks 10th Anniversary". The Washington Post. Retrieved January 17, 2014.
  32. ^ Thomas Heath (June 10, 2010). "Leonsis holdings under new Monumental Sports include Wizards, Verizon Center". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2021-07-17.
  33. ^ Hobson, Will. "Verizon still mulling whether to renew naming rights to Verizon Center". The Washington Post.
  34. ^ "Report: Verizon will not renew arena naming rights". WUSA9.
  35. ^ Clabaugh, Jeff. "Monumental Sports & Entertainment teams with international airline in sponsorship deal". Washington Business Journal.
  36. ^ "MSE and Capital One Announce New Arena Naming Rights Partnership" (Press release). Washington Wizards. August 9, 2017. Retrieved September 29, 2017.
  37. ^ "MSE and Capital One Announce New Arena Naming Rights Partnership" (Press release). Washington Capitals. August 9, 2017. Retrieved September 29, 2017.
  38. ^ Steinberg, Dan (August 9, 2017). "Verizon Center to become Capital One Arena, starting now". The Washington Post. Retrieved September 29, 2017.
  39. ^ a b Rick Maese (July 31, 2020). "D.C.'s first sportsbook opens at Capital One Arena". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2021-07-17.
  40. ^ Tyson Announces Retirement After Quitting vs. McBride, USA Today, 2005-06-12, Retrieved on 2013-09-01
  41. ^ "UFC on Versus 6 sets event series' attendance and live-gate records". October 2, 2011. Archived from the original on May 10, 2012.
  42. ^ "Georgetown University, Verizon Center to Host 2019 NCAA March Madness Games".
  43. ^ "2016 Kellogg's Tour of Gymnastics Champions". Retrieved March 25, 2019.
  44. ^ Ted Leonsis to announce D.C. is getting an Arena Football League team, Scott Allen, The Washington Post, March 10, 2016
  45. ^ Wallace, Ava. "Mystics hope for a true home-court advantage at new Entertainment and Sports Arena". The Washington Post. Retrieved July 29, 2019.
  46. ^ Otterson, Joe. "All Elite Wrestling to Launch on TNT Wednesdays in October". Variety.
  47. ^ Dangoor, Louis. "AEW Confirms UK TV Deal, Weekly Show To Air On ITV". WrestleTalk.
  48. ^ Lowman, Stephen (January 28, 2009). "The Shrinking of Chinatown". The Washington Post. Retrieved January 29, 2009.
  49. ^ a b c Nakamura, David (July 1, 2011). "Wah Luck House Maintains Culture of Dying D.C. Chinatown". The Washington Post. Retrieved July 10, 2011.
  50. ^ Leonsis, Ted (December 6, 2007). "Toughness". Ted's Take. Retrieved December 6, 2007.
  51. ^ Steinberg, Dan (February 10, 2009). "The Caps and Bad Ice: A History". The Washington Post. Retrieved February 10, 2009.
Events and tenants
Preceded by
first arena
Home of the
Washington Mystics

1998 – 2018
Succeeded by
Preceded by Home of the
Washington Capitals

1997 – present
Succeeded by
Preceded by Home of the
Washington Wizards

1997 – present
Succeeded by
Preceded by Host of the
Frozen Four

Succeeded by
Preceded by Host of the
Survivor Series

Succeeded by
Preceded by Host of
WWE Cyber Sunday

Succeeded by