This is an old news topic, but I didn’t have time to write about it when it came out. Also, if it ever happened, such a move is years away. But now that I’m currently on vacation (YAY!), I have a few minutes to chime in on it.
In late June, multiple reports came out stating that Monumental Sports & Entertainment is had preliminary talks about moving the Washington Wizards and Capitals from their current home at Capital One Arena in Chinatown to a new facility in Crystal City, a neighborhood in Arlington County, Va. (Okay, it’s just “Arlington” to those of us who are DMV residents.) Crystal City is located next to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport and Amazon’s second headquarters.
The reason behind moving the Wizards and Capitals out of Capital One Arena appear to be because there is some “deferred maintenance” in the facility, and it’s also one of the older arenas in the NBA and NHL. Capital One Arena opened in 1997. Arlington is also redeveloping much of Crystal City as Amazon makes its presence known in Crystal City. Finally, in theory, if the Wizards and Capitals moved to Arlington, they aren’t moving to a “far away” suburb like Ashburn in Loudoun County. Crystal City is quite close to Chinatown.
That said, MSE still wants to keep the Wizards and Capitals playing in Washington. Capital One Arena is in a prime location, even though I’ll admit that improvements are needed. In the 1990s when it opened, the arena spurred a lot of economic development. ‘
Now, Chinatown has lost some of its luster. Some restaurants have left nearby Gallery Place, like a McDonald’s and Chipotle in recent years. Stores are closing for various reasons. And there have been more violent crimes in recent months. If Capital One Arena were no longer the home to the Wizards and Capitals, that would probably accelerate economic decline downtown, on top of other macroeconomic issues like declining office occupancy rates in the post-coronavirus era.
Personally, I think that D.C. will keep the Wizards and Capitals at Capital One Arena, even as the local government is trying to woo the Commanders NFL team to their former stomping grounds at a proposed new facility where RFK stadium was. Moving the Wizards and Capitals to Virginia, even if it’s a suburb right at the border, will affect attendance from Washington’s Maryland area counties.
Would you like to see the Wizards and Capitals move to Virginia, or Maryland for that matter? Let us know in the comments below.