Exterior photo of the Verizon Center. Home of the Washington Capitals and Washington Wizards.

Image Credit: Isaac Wedin (CC BY 2.0)

The Verizon Center, home of the Washington Wizards and Washington Capitals, is changing it’s name to Capital One Arena effective immediately. The venue, located in D.C.’s Chinatown, first opened as the MCI Center in 1997 and changed names after MCI was acquired by Verizon in 2006. The official dollar amount of the naming rights agreement is unknown to the public. Bloomberg News claims that the new naming rights deal is for 10 years and exceeds $100 million.

The Verizon signage throughout the arena will remain until the fall. The previous naming rights agreement between MCI and the arena was negotiated by Abe Pollin, who owned both the Wizards and Capitals at the time. Ted Leonsis, the current owner of both teams, was seeking a more “team-friendly naming rights agreement” as he put it. Leonsis acquired Capital One Arena in 2010 and the venue is one of the few privately owned arenas in professional sports.

The new naming rights deal makes plenty of sense with Capital One headquartered in the Washington D.C. metro area and their founder being a partner of Monumental Sports and Entertainment. Additionally, Capital One Arena will also be given a $40 million upgrade that will be completed over the next few years. A major part of the upgrade will be technology that shortens lines at concessions and gives fans a new point of sale system. An agreement that pays Monumental Sports and Entertainment $10 million per season will give the group one of the highest paying naming rights agreements in both the NBA and NHL.





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