Bowser Seeks to Keep Mystics at St Elizabeths East Campus

WASHINGTON BUSINESS JOURNAL: The Washington Mystics have played home games at the Entertainment and Sports Arena in Ward 8 since 2019.

Monumental Sports and Entertainment’s plan to return to the Washington Mystics to their original home at Capital One Arena later this decade is not sitting well with D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, according to NBC4 Washington.

The Mystics have been playing home games at the Entertainment and Sports Arena on the St. Elizabeths East campus in Southeast D.C. since 2019 and are under contract with the city to play thereuntil 2037. As Bowser sees it, the Mystics’ move back to Capital One Arena downtown — set in motion by Monumental’s bid to relocate theWashington Capitals and Wizards to Alexandria — would be a setback for development east of theAnacostia River, which has been a top priority for her administration.   

“The District honors its contracts, and we trust and expect our partners to do the same,” a Bowser spokesperson said in a statement to NBC4. “This partnership and the arena it built have been acatalyst for change in Ward 8, creating jobs and opportunity and paving the way for new housing, retail, and health care on the St. Elizabeths East Campus. The Mystics organization and players havebeen strong supporters of Ward 8, and the community has embraced the team right back. We look forward to continuing this shared success.” 

When Monumental Sports CEO Ted Leonsis announced a plan earlier this month to move the Capitals and Wizards to a new arena at Potomac Yard, he tried to soften the blow to downtown D.C. by simultaneously announcing that Capital One Arena would become the new home of theMystics. The Capitals’ and Wizards’ lease at Capital One Arena expires in 2027 and Monumental would move the team by 2028 if plans to build a new arena and surrounding entertainment district are approved by the Virginia General Assembly and the Alexandria City Council.

Under Monumental’s plan, the 20,000-seat Capital One Arena would be renovated with a new flexible, seating design that would hold about 10,000 fans for women’s basketball games and could beexpanded to about 20,000 seats for larger events like concerts. The Entertainment and Sports Arena holds about 4,000 fans and often sells out for Mystics games. 

Monumental pays the District $400,000 to use the The Entertainment and Sports Arena for Mystics’ games and Wizards’ practices. 

Monumental says it needs to move he Mystics back to Capital One Arena because the team, which won the WNBA championship in its first season at the Entertainment and Sports Arena, has alreadyoutgrown the venue.

“The fandom of women’s sports has exploded in recent years and the Mystics are consistently selling out their home games. We believe we can create a tailored gameday experience for that expanding fanbase and provide the space for thischampionship-winning team to continue growing the franchise to play for 10,000 fans within 3-5 years,” Monumental told NBC4.


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