The downtown home of the Capitals, Wizards, Mystics, Georgetown men’s basketball and Valor has a new name: Capital One Arena.
On Wednesday morning, Monumental Sports and Entertainment announced that McLean-based Capital One will be replacing Verizon as the new naming rights partner for the building, which opened in 1997.
Although the new name takes effect immediately, the full signage and branding changeover will happen in the coming months.
The arena, which began as MCI Center before being renamed Verizon Center in 2006, is also getting $40 million upgrades to improve the fan experience, according to MSE.
From the release:
As part of its continued commitment to provide the best fan experience in the country, Monumental Sports and Entertainment today also announces a separate, independent $40 million investment in Capital One Arena. Capital One Arena is one of the few privately-owned arenas in the country, and throughout its ownership, MSE has made over $100 million in investments to ensure the arena remains a best-in-class facility. The announcement today of this new investment is a further down payment on that commitment.
As part of its independent investment announced today, MSE will continue to push the envelope by employing cutting edge technology to benefit our fans. For example, through the Monumental360 program, MSE will use data to build out a full view of our fans, so we can better cater to their individual needs and interests. Our aim is to use what fans tell us about their preferences when they interact with any touch point of a Monumental franchise. Who they follow on social media, channel of purchase and seat location, how they connect to arena WIFI and what they purchase in the arena can help us tailor not just the Capital One Arena experience, but their fan experience outside the building, too. We want to know our fans well - so we can make sure we are providing them with the very best experience.
This summer, MSE also plans to move to a new point of sale system -- which will be a great first step toward faster lines and additional payment options for fans, as well as better analytics and data that will allow MSE to better tailor the arena experience to each fan. The new point of sale system will also enable MSE to offer Capital One cardholders automated discounts on food, beverage, merchandise and more.
This is all part of MSE's continued commitment to ensure that Capital One Arena remains a premiere destination in the country for sports and entertainment.
For the full release, click here.
In a blog post, Monumental majority owner and CEO Ted Leonsis noted that the naming rights deal with Capital One continues a big year for MSE, which has also agreed to a new TV rights deal and equity partnership with CSN, welcomed NBC Sports Group as an investor in Monumental Sports Network, invested in a top esports team, Team Liquid, added a NBA G League team and kicked off the inaugural seasons for a pair of AFL teams, the Washington Valor and Baltimore Brigade.
"Welcome to Capital One Arena," Leonsis wrote. "That sounds fantastic."
The arena has been credited with rejuvenating the Chinatown area of downtown Washington by bringing in many new restaurants and retail stores in recent years. In 2016, Billboard Magazine ranked the arena 8th in the nation and 13th in the world among top-grossing venues with a seating capacity of more than 15,000.