Do you ever wonder why it seems like only billionaires own sports teams? It's not just the multi-million-dollar checks they have to cut every month. No, these folks also have to shell out for multi-million-dollar facilities improvements--lest their teams get left in the dust.
It is in this spirit that the Washington Wizards are going to get their own brand-new practice facility hopefully in time for training camp in 2017. So far, Ted Leonsis's group hasn't decided on a location yet--get your lobbying signs ready, DC, MD, and VA!--but they do know that it will no longer be inside the Verizon Center.
In a recent conversation with the Washington Post, Leonsis referred to this investment for the Wizards as a piece of an "arms race" of sorts around the NBA. "A lot of NBA teams started to make these big kind of investments, so we want to do it, too."
If this "big kind of investment" is anything like Kettler Iceplex--the Capitals offsite training facility--it will cost upwards of $42.8 million (at least $20 million), have multiple playing spaces and locker rooms, fitness facilities, as well as training and medical facilities (h/t the Post).
Frankly, I'm pleased that the ownership wants to invest in the team like this. Hopefully the physical benefits from the new facilities will translate into on-court production. Even more importantly, though, I think the signaling from ownership that they want to invest in the team does a lot to promote a positive relationship between the front office and the players.
Now let's just hope that the next big investment the ownership views as worthwhile for the Wizards is its own D-League franchise.