Capitals Set to Move to Virginia in 2028

Monumental to launch a new "Entertainment District" (Graphic: Monumental Sports and Entertainment)

While Capitals fans have been rocking the red, big news has rocked the DMV this week. While it is still in the early stages, an understanding has been reached between Monumental Sports and Entertainment, the Commonwealth of Virginia, the City of Alexandria, and JBG Smith to move the home arena for the Washington Capitals (and NBA team Washington Wizards) out of the district and into Virginia. This public-private partnership would create an entire Entertainment District in the Potomac Yard neighborhood of Alexandria. The agreement is waiting for General Assembly and City Council approval. This Entertainment District would feature a brand-new arena to host both sports teams and entertainment, a designated performing arts venue, retail stores, restaurants, and community spaces. In addition, this project would create a state-of-the-art production facility for Monumental Sports Network, a practice facility for the Wizards, and a corporate headquarters for Monumental Sports and Entertainment. The project is expected to break ground in 2025, with doors opening in 2028.

As for the Capitals, the team would continue to play at their current home of Capital One Arena, located in Chinatown, through the 2027 season. Capital One Arena is expected to undergo renovations shortly to enhance its hosting flexibility, focusing on expanding its seating capacity and event types, including becoming a partner to the city’s convention center to host more daytime events. As the Capitals make the move out to Northern Virginia, it is projected that the Mystics, Washington’s WNBA team, will take over Capital One Arena as their fanbase continues to grow.

Monumental Sports and Entertainment seems optimistic about this move, the economic growth for the city of Alexandria and the Commonwealth of Virginia, and the impact it will create on the DMV as a whole. In an email sent to fans, Monumental states:

“We believe the unique opportunity we have for an Entertainment District at Potomac Yard and a vibrant, flexible sports and entertainment venue at Capital One Arena will not only offer DMV fans unparalleled access to world-class sports and entertainment but also serve as a testament to our commitment to providing exceptional fan experiences, uniting communities, and fostering economic growth for the entire region.”

Additionally, the move from D.C. to its outskirts across the river has the potential to create a more positive experience for fans as they enter and exit the game. Capital One Arena is situated in Washington’s Chinatown neighborhood, which is notorious for high crime rates. According to data from the Metropolitan Police Department, crime across the District has increased significantly, with robbery increased by 69%, violence crime by 40%, and motor vehicle theft by 89% in 2023. Virginia Lt. Governor Winsome Sears commented on the issue, saying, “It’s not just about money, but you got to talk about the environment. … What is the surrounding area of the venue? If you go to the game and you’re having fun but if you leave the game having to look over your shoulder, that’s an issue.”

Many fans of DC sports are not particularly happy with the move. With the Washington Commanders already playing in Maryland, two more major league sports teams leaving the District is not a good look for the city. Mayor Muriel Bowser made a last-minute bid to Monumental Sports and Entertainment that included $500 million to upgrade Capital One Arena, but it does not appear that MSE will take the bait.

The new Entertainment District would still be accessible by Metro and other public transit, as well as more easily accessible by car than Capital One Arena. However, the new arena would sit beyond Washington Reagan National Airport on the Metro line, making gameday airport travel a logistical nightmare. It is also already a high-traffic area, and adding a multi-use facility as proposed would only exacerbate the issue.

You can see Monumental’s proposal here and keep an eye on their social media channels for continued updates.

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