Washington Capitals Owner Told he Can't Move the Team

TJ Tucker
March 22, 2024  (5:15 PM)

Capital One Arena, home of the Washington Capitals
Photo credit: Capital One Arena

The owner of the Washington Capitals, Ted Leonsis, has been told in no uncertain terms that he can't move the team to Virginia. That comes straight from D.C.'s Attorney General Brian Schwalb.

Ted Leonsis told the Washington Capitals have to stay put for a long time.

In an interview with the Washington Post back in February, Ted Leonsis of the Washington Capitals and the Washington Wizards, told a reporter Ted Leonsis needed more space for further expansion. That was his reason for wanting to use a plot of land in the Potomac Yard area of Virginia.
"This was about the future. We can continue to innovate and build new things if we want, as part of this partnership. It was well, we can make a more bespoke experience.

However, his request to the City of Washington to be allowed to leave Capital One Arena was rejected today by AG Schwalb, who noted that Ted Leonis and his company Monumental Sports and Entertainment made promises in order to get public financing, and that means the Washington Capitals won't be going anywhere for at least 23 years.
"Your letter recognizes that, among its contributions to MSE over the years, the District publicly financed extensive improvements to the Arena in 2007, just 10 years after the Arena opened. In July 2007, the District enacted legislation that gave DC Arena LP (DCALP) $50 million to renovate the Arena. Those funds were raised through municipal bonds. The Council expressly conditioned that public financing on DCALP's commitment to extend the original ground lease for an additional 20 years, thereby ensuring the District and its taxpayers that the Wizards and the Capitals would continue to play their home games at the Arena through 2047. The July 2007 legislation did not authorize DCALP to extinguish or revoke the lease extensions upon prepayment of the outstanding bond debt at some unknown time in the future. Nor did any DCALP representative or District official suggest such a possibility during the legislative process."

According to WJLA, MSE and Ted Leonsis had no comment on today's ruling regarding the Washington Capitals. As for whether a court battle is shaping up, a spokesperson said they need time to review the AG's letter first.
The ruling on Ted Leonsis's request to move the Washington Capitals to Virginia comes as the Capitals prepare to be without top player Tom Wilson for some time. Wilson is awaiting a ruling from the NHL's Department of Player Safety for a high stick on Noah Gregor of the Toronto Maple Leafs.
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Washington Capitals Owner Told he Can't Move the Team

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