Capital One Gets Wizards Arena Name Rights in Deal With Leonsis

  • Bank said to agree to a $100 million deal to replace Verizon
  • Washington venue to be known as Capital One Arena immediately

The Washington Wizards play the Boston Celtics in Washington, D.C. on May 12, 2017.

Photographer: Ned Dishman/NBAE/Getty Images

Capital One Financial Corp. is putting its name on the arena that houses the NBA’s Washington Wizards and NHL’s Capitals, replacing Verizon Communications Inc. as the venue’s naming rights partner.

The 20,000-seat arena in the city’s Chinatown neighborhood will be called Capital One Arena immediately, according to a statement from Ted Leonsis-owned Monumental Sports and Entertainment, the parent company of the teams and building that also houses the WNBA’s Mystics and Georgetown men’s basketball.

Neither McLean, Virginia-based Capital One nor Monumental disclosed financial details of the contract, though two people familiar with the deal said it’s valued at $100 million over 10 years. The people asked not to be identified because the terms are private.

The sale of the rights comes as Leonsis is trying to build Monumental into a global brand. Separately, Monumental said it would make a $40 million investment in the privately owned arena, with the money going toward technology upgrades, among other things.

The building’s existing deal with Verizon was set to expire next year. Recent naming rights deals have typically run from $2 million to $10 million annually.

Barclays Plc, for instance, pays about $10 million to have its name on the Brooklyn, New York, arena that houses basketball’s Nets and hockey’s Islanders. On the high end, JPMorgan Chase & Co. paid about $15 million a year to puts its name on the yet-to-be-built San Francisco arena that’ll house basketball’s Golden State Warriors, whereas Golden 1 Credit Union agreed to pay about $6 million annually to have its name on the new arena in Sacramento, California.

The Washington arena has gone through several naming rights iterations since it opened in 1997 as MCI Center. It became Verizon Center in 2006 after Verizon purchased MCI.

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