The home of the Washington Wizards and Washington Capitals has been known as the “Phone Booth” but all that may changing. The D.C. arena which opened in Dec. 2, 1997 was originally named the MCI Center and when Verizon bought the phone company the arena was renamed the Verizon Center in 2006. But according to report, the name may be changing once again, as Capital One could be in line to become the naming sponsor the the multipurpose arena.
According to Domain Name Wire, Capital One recently registered more than 50 domain names such as CapitalOneCenterDC.com, and Capital1ArenaDC.com.
After a day or two of speculation 106.7 the Fan contributor Thom Loverro reports the name change is indeed set to happen.
— 106.7 The Fan (@1067theFan) August 2, 2017
In 2015, Sports Business Journal reported Verizon would not retain the naming rights to the Chinatown D.C. arena when their current deal expires in 2018. According to the same report, Monumental Sports, the company that owns the Wizards and Capitals, is seeking a 10-15-year deal that would pay $7 million annually for the naming rights. In July, majority owner Ted Leonsis spoke on the importance of having a naming rights deal in place while appearing on Forbes’ Sports Money podcast.
“Our naming rights do come up, and we are in negotiations with several partners. Verizon’s been a great partner. Verizon picked up the naming rights when they acquired MCI. […] And that was a 20-year deal, and they’ve been fantastic. But you’re right. The city has blossomed. The media reach for the teams, and we now own six teams, and DC has become one of the great vibrant communities.”
If the report is true, Capital One is a logical fit, considering it’s a locally-based company. The company which was founded in 1988 in Richmond, Va., has since been headquartered in McLean, Va. And recently got approval to expand its Tyson’s Corner headquarters. Additionally, Capital One Founder and CEO Richard Fairbank is a partner in Monumental Sports and Entertainment. The bank company would also be a logical fit for a jersey sponsorship for the NBA, as the league has approved teams to seek out advertising to be placed on jerseys starting this upcoming season.
Until official word, the speculation will continue. However, now may be the time to start thinking of a new nickname for the home of the Wizards and Capitals.
“The Bank” is a personal favorite. But judging by early reaction through social media, it may naturally become the Cap Center which would be a neat homage to the Wizards and Capitals original long-term home, the Capital Centre.