Capital One Arena, home of the Washington Capitals
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NHL Owner Told He Can't Move the Team for a Long Time

Published March 22, 2024 at 3:36 PM

The owner of an NHL team has been given a firm no on his plans to relocate by the authority of the Attorney General. The ruling was in response to a letter written to the town's council stating plans to build a new arena elsewhere.

In his response to the letter from Monumental Sports and Entertainment, the parent company of the Washington Capitals, and the Wizards of the NBA, D.C. Attorney General Brian Schwalb told MSE that he would not allow the owners of the team to leave Capital One Arena and move to nearby site in Virginia. The reason was promises made to the City of Washington when public money was accessed by the owner, one which included having the teams in Washington until 2047.

"Your letter recognizes that, among its contributions to MSE over the years, the District publicly financed extensive improvements to the Arena in 2007, just 10 years after the Arena opened. In July 2007, the District enacted legislation that gave DC Arena LP (DCALP) $50 million to renovate the Arena. Those funds were raised through municipal bonds. The Council expressly conditioned that public financing on DCALP's commitment to extend the original ground lease for an additional 20 years, thereby ensuring the District and its taxpayers that the Wizards and the Capitals would continue to play their home games at the Arena through 2047. The July 2007 legislation did not authorize DCALP to extinguish or revoke the lease extensions upon prepayment of the outstanding bond debt at some unknown time in the future. Nor did any DCALP representative or District official suggest such a possibility during the legislative process."

MSE's owner, founder, and chairman Ted Leonsis said space for expansion was the main reason when why he wanted to move the teams to Virginia.

"[Capital One] has been a great home for us and we appreciate everything about it. But it's three acres and it's very hard to expand.

"The compelling reason that we consider moving to Virginia is it's still the DMV (District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia). It's three and a half miles from here." -

An MSE spokesperson would not comment on the ruling from the Attorney General or whether the company would appeal.

March 22   |   96 answers
NHL Owner Told He Can't Move the Team for a Long Time

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