Monumental Sports and Entertainment has announced the Verizon Center, the downtown sports arena it owns, has officially become the Capital One Arena, effective immediately.
The home of the Washington Wizards, Capitals, Mystics, Valor, and the Georgetown Hoyas, was expected to receive a name change after the 20-year deal with Verizon, which originally started out with MCI, was to expire in 2018. Reports surfaced last week that Capital One, a Fairfax County, Virginia-based bank, would take over the naming rights to the arena. But Wednesday’s announcement stats the name change will begin immediately.
Capital One was already a heavy sponsor for the Wizards and Capitals. The bank’s CEO Richard Fairbank is a partner in Monumental Sports Entertainment. The fit was natural.
The early name change makes Saturday’s Mystics game the first event under the new name.
It also leaves the Wizards’ last game in the “Verizon Center” as Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Boston Celtics. In that game John Wall sunk the game-winning three pointer that erupted the arena and entire DMV Area.
Of course, the last Capitals’ game is the disappointing Game 7 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins during the second round of the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs.
The downtown D.C. arena located in the heart of Chinatown, holds 20,000 seats. It opened on Dec. 2, 2007, originally named the MCI Center. But after Verizon purchased MCI in 2006, the name was altered to the Verizon Center. Under both titles, the arena was commonly called the “Phone Booth” by fans. Now, their is an early motion for fans to refer to the Capital One Arena as the Cap Center, mimicking the name of the teams original D.C. home — the Capital Centre which was located in Landover, Md.