MCI Center
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MCI Center

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

Capital One Arena
The Wallet
CapitalOneArena.png
Verizon Center wide.jpg
Exterior of the arena (c.2008)
Former namesMCI Center (1997-2006)
Verizon Center (2006-17)
Address601 F Street NW
LocationWashington, D.C.
Public transitWMATA Metro Logo.svg Washington Metro
WMATA Red.svgWMATA Green.svgWMATA Yellow.svg at Gallery Place
OwnerMonumental Sports & Entertainment
Capacity20,656
Field size1,020,000 sq ft (95,000 m2)
Construction
Broke groundOctober 18, 1995
OpenedDecember 2, 1997
Construction costUS$260 million
($428 million in 2018 dollars[3])
ArchitectEllerbe Becket[4]
Devrouax & Purnell[4]
KCF-SHG Architects[4]
Project managerSeagull Bay Sports, LLC.[5]
Structural engineerDelon Hampton & Associates[6]
Services engineerJohn J. Christie Associates[4]
General contractorClark/Smoot[7]
Tenants
Washington Wizards (NBA) (1997-present)
Washington Capitals (NHL) (1997-present)
Georgetown Hoyas (NCAA) (1997-present)
Washington Mystics (WNBA) (1998-2018)
Washington Power (NLL) (2001-02)
Washington Valor (AFL) (2017-present)
Website
Venue Website

The Capital One Arena is an indoor arena in Washington, D.C.. Located in the Chinatown neighborhood of Washington, D.C., 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, the Washington Wizards of the National Basketball Association, the Georgetown University men's basketball team, and the Washington Valor of the Arena Football League. It was also home to the Washington Mystics of the Women's National Basketball Association from 1998 to 2018, but that team will move to the new St. Elizabeths East Arena in southeast Washington, beginning with the 2019 season.

History

The arena was built in the mid-1990s solely with private financing by Abe Pollin, and is situated on top of land leased from the District of Columbia. It opened on December 2, 1997, as the MCI Center. Nearly a decade later, 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.[9][10]

On June 10, 2010, following Pollin's death in November 2009, the Pollin family sold the arena, along with the Washington Wizards and the Washington-Baltimore area Ticketmaster franchise, to Ted Leonsis, who already owned the arena's other tenant, the Washington Capitals. Leonsis subsequently formed a new management company, Monumental Sports & Entertainment.[11]

In the professional fighting world the arena was home to Mike Tyson's final fight (Mike Tyson vs. Kevin McBride) on June 11, 2005[12] and on October 1, 2011, UFC Live: Cruz vs. Johnson was held at the arena.[13]

The arena has hosted NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament rounds several times, with first and second round events in 2002, 2008 and 2011 and hosted the regional finals in 2006, 2013 and 2019.[14] 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.

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.[15][16] 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.[17] However, on August 9, 2017, it was announced the bank Capital One had purchased the rights, renaming the venue Capital One Arena.[18][19][20]

The arena hosted the 2016 Kellogg's Tour of Gymnastics Champions.[21]

In 2017, the Washington Valor began play at the arena for their inaugural season in the Arena Football League.[22] The Mystics moved after the 2018 WNBA season to a new, smaller arena in the Congress Heights area of southeast Washington.[23]

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 1992 Washington Redskins.

On Wednesday October 2, 2019, the Capital One Arena hosted 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.[24][25]

On Friday October 4, 2019 Monumental Sports & Entertainment owner of the Washington Capitals, Washington Wizards and Washington Mystics professional sports teams and British bookmaker William Hill announced plans to offer sports betting at the Capital One Arena pending approval of sports betting by the District of Columbia Mayor and City Council.[26][27]

Criticism

Gentrification

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.[28] 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.[29] Recent estimates hold that the number of Chinese in the neighborhood is down to around 400 to 500.[29] 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.[29]

Ice quality issues

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.[30] The ice quality issue has been persistent both since the opening of the facility and with the Capitals franchise in general.[31] 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.[]

See also

References

  1. ^ Carrera, Katie (December 6, 2012). "Hershey Bears Play AHL Showcase at Verizon Center, Keeping Capitals Fans Entertained for One Night During NHL Lockout having seating capacity over 9000". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2013.
  2. ^ Heath, Thomas (November 25, 2004). "On Hockey Nights, A Center of Inactivity". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2011.
  3. ^ Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. "Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800-". Retrieved 2019.
  4. ^ a b c d "Verizon Center". AECOM. Retrieved 2017.
  5. ^ 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 2013.
  6. ^ "Verizon Center". Delon Hampton & Associates. Archived from the original on 2012-04-02. Retrieved 2013.
  7. ^ "MCI Center". Emporis.com. Retrieved 2011.
  8. ^ a b "Name Change: MCI Center to be Verizon Center". ESPN. Associated Press. January 7, 2006. Retrieved 2013.
  9. ^ "Verizon Center Shows off "First True Indoor HD LED Scoreboard"". Engadget. September 28, 2007. Archived from the original on 2011-07-23. Retrieved 2011.
  10. ^ Nakamura, David (December 2, 2007). "Verizon Center Marks 10th Anniversary". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2014.
  11. ^ https://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/06/10/AR2010061002827.html
  12. ^ Tyson Announces Retirement After Quitting vs. McBride, USA Today, 2005-06-12, Retrieved on 2013-09-01
  13. ^ "UFC on Versus 6 sets event series' attendance and live-gate records". MMAjunkie.com. October 2, 2011. Archived from the original on May 10, 2012.
  14. ^ https://www.nbcwashington.com/news/sports/Georgetown-University-Verizon-Center-to-Host-2019-NCAA-March-Madness-Games-419781573.html
  15. ^ Hobson, Will. "Verizon still mulling whether to renew naming rights to Verizon Center". Washington Post.
  16. ^ "Report: Verizon will not renew arena naming rights". WUSA9.
  17. ^ Clabaugh, Jeff. "Monumental Sports & Entertainment teams with international airline in sponsorship deal". Washington Business Journal.
  18. ^ "MSE and Capital One Announce New Arena Naming Rights Partnership" (Press release). Washington Wizards. August 9, 2017. Retrieved 2017.
  19. ^ "MSE and Capital One Announce New Arena Naming Rights Partnership" (Press release). Washington Capitals. August 9, 2017. Retrieved 2017.
  20. ^ Steinberg, Dan (August 9, 2017). "Verizon Center to become Capital One Arena, starting now". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2017.
  21. ^ "2016 Kellogg's Tour of Gymnastics Champions". capitalonearena.viewlift.com/. Retrieved 2019.
  22. ^ Ted Leonsis to announce D.C. is getting an Arena Football League team, Scott Allen, The Washington Post, March 10, 2016
  23. ^ Wallace, Ava. "Mystics hope for a true home-court advantage at new Entertainment and Sports Arena". WashingtonPost.com. The Washington Post. Retrieved 2019.
  24. ^ Otterson, Joe. "All Elite Wrestling to Launch on TNT Wednesdays in October". Variety.
  25. ^ Dangoor, Louis. "AEW Confirms UK TV Deal, Weekly Show To Air On ITV". WrestleTalk.
  26. ^ Capital One Arena, British bookmaker team up as D.C. moves forward with legal sports gambling (Retrieved from Washington Post on 04 October 2019
  27. ^ A Sportsbook at Capital One Arena? Here's what it means Retrieved from ESPN.com on 04 October 2019
  28. ^ Lowman, Stephen (January 28, 2009). "The Shrinking of Chinatown". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2009.
  29. ^ a b c Nakamura, David (July 1, 2011). "Wah Luck House Maintains Culture of Dying D.C. Chinatown". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2011.
  30. ^ Leonsis, Ted (December 6, 2007). "Toughness". Ted's Take. Retrieved 2007.
  31. ^ Steinberg, Dan (February 10, 2009). "The Caps and Bad Ice: A History". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2009.

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