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The Aquilian

The Aquilian

To move or not to move? That is the question.

Photo of Capitals fans waiting outside Capital One Arena prior to Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Finals. Photo taken by Victoria Pickering. Used with Creative Commons license.

Last winter, Monumental Sports, the company that owns both the Washington Capitals and Washington Wizards, decided to move out of Washington, D.C.’s Capital One Arena in 2028 in favor of a new campus in Potomac Yard. This is a fabulous move for the teams as it finally gives them the chance to thrive. 

The reason behind the move is very simple: space. Ever since the teams moved to Capital One Arena in 1997, they have been rapidly outgrowing it. Their needs began to increase year-by-year, and it finally reached a point where they needed to leave.

Monumental Sports owner Ted Leonsis stated to the fans in his letter explaining the move, “Professional sports teams are realizing that to build championship level contenders an outsized investment in space is required.”

However, many people living in the city are mad because they felt that the teams should have stayed in the city because of the convenience of fans who live in the city. Leonsis had his own response to this claim. 

“Between the Capitals and the Wizards,” Leonsis stated in his letter, “44% of fans who attend games are from Virginia, 41% are from Maryland and 15% are from Washington, DC. The teams represent the DMV, and they belong to the entire DMV.”

This was the right move for the team. Not only did they need more space for the teams to truly succeed, but the support and attendance for the teams will also not change much. With Capital One Arena being on a Metro stop, Leonsis saw it as a necessity for the new location to be on a Metro stop also. Now, the new arena will be adjacent to the Potomac Yard-Virginia Tech station. 

When I surveyed both students at Gonzaga and people outside the school, they had different opinions about the move. Out of 40 people surveyed, only 18 of them said that the move to Virginia was the right decision. More interestingly, out of those 40 people surveyed, 17 of them currently reside in Virginia and all said that the move was a positive one. And, for the non-Virginia residents surveyed (the 33 others asked), all but one voted that the move was bad. Their most common explanation is that it puts the team further away from where they live. 

While yes, the fact that it only leaves one of the major four sports in the city with the Nationals representing the MLB (Commanders are in Maryland, and Wizards and Capitals are in Virginia), it bears no importance. The fact is that the needs for these two teams were growing, and the most important need was for more space. 

Because the move will provide more space and real estate while not changing much else, the move to Virginia was the right move for Monumental Sports, the Capitals, the Wizards and their fans.

However, this move is now facing setbacks. On Feb. 12, the Virginia State Senate met together to discuss the funding proposed by the state’s Governor Glenn Youngkin. The drama that followed is going to have immense repercussions. When the move came out, Youngkin had promised Leonsis that Virginia would help with the funding for the new arena but agreed to it without consulting the state senate. One of the major figures in the senate Louise Lucas shared on the progress of the deal.

“As far as I’m concerned,” Lucas shared when asked about whether the deal was dead, “it is.”

Now the problem for Monumental Sports is not whether the public is on their side, but instead the viability of the new arena and financing its construction.

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