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D.C. government trying to force Monumental Sports & Entertainment to keep the Mystics at the Entertainment & Sports Arena

The current lease, which Monumental paid for in 2019 is supposed to last until 2037. But Monumental paid for the lease up front and they have outgrown the arena.

Washington Mystics v Las Vegas Aces Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

The D.C. government is a state of disbelief about the Washington Wizards and Capitals planning to move to Alexandria, Va. in 2028. But one team, the Washington Mystics is supposed to stay in D.C. no matter what.

And if Mayor Muriel Bowser has her way, the Mystics will stay at the Entertainment & Sports Arena in Ward 8. The ward also happens to be one of the most underserved jurisdictions in the District.

According to Mark Segraves of WRC-TV, Bowser’s office is looking to make sure that Monumental Sports & Entertainment, the owner of the three teams, keeps the Mystics there.

In a statement by Bowser’s office wrote that “the District honors its contracts, and we trust and expect [Monumental Sports] to do the same. … The Mystics organization and players have been strong supporters of Ward 8, and the community has embraced the team right back.”

Monumental Sports paid its lease for ESA upfront in 2019, and was originally supposed to play there until 2037.

However, Monumental Sports also claims that the Mystics have outgrown the 4,200 seat ESA since they started playing there in 2019. They routinely sell out Mystics games due to demand.

Also, with the WNBA’s growing popularity nationwide and expansion on the horizon, there is external pressure by the league to make sure that all teams are playing in sufficient facilities and don’t get pushed around by Big Four teams. A planned expansion team to Portland in 2025 was called off, possibly for this reason.

ESA is the second smallest arena in the WNBA. While the WNBA may appreciate that the Mystics can sell out games, the league may also not appreciate that the Mystics are in a game facility that isn’t up to par with most other teams by capping off their potential growth.

And ultimately, that could affect whether future free agents, not the current players, want to play in Washington.

Do you think the D.C. government will successfully keep the Mystics at ESA as their home arena? Will the WNBA support the D.C. government too? Or will they pressure Monumental Sports to move the Mystics to a bigger venue? Let us know in the comments below.