Ted Leonsis announced his NBA and NHL teams were moving to Alexandria. That may have been premature.
The Washington Wizards and Capitals announced in December that they’d be moving to Alexandria, Virginia. But that was pending the approval of the Virginia General Assembly.
After Virginia’s governor, Glenn Youngkin refused to negotiate on the details of arena deal, it looks like the bill to fund the arena will die in the state Senate.
While the mayor of Alexandria and governor of Virginia support the arena plan, that hasn’t been enough yet to assuage the concerns of local opponents, which Wizards owner Leonsis called “personally frustrating.”
Monumental Sports Company, the parent company of the Wizards, Capitals and the WNBA’s Mystics, made a tentative deal to build an arena in the Potomac Yards neighborhood of Virginia, along the Potomac River.
The company was going to invest $403M in the $2B dollar project, roughly 20%. $106M would come from Alexandria, and the rest would come from state tax revenues used to pay down bonds.
It sounds like state legislators aren’t enthusiastic about that last part. Reportedly, the proposed stadium authority could access sales tax revenues from the city and state, and even personal income taxes, to pay down the bonds.
This puts the Washington teams in a precarious spot. They’re clearly trying to play off the states of Virginia and Maryland against each other, as well as Washington D.C. But now that plan seems dead in the water without some concessions from Monumental.
Leonsis, who has a reported net worth of $2.8B, could go back to D.C. or he could try again with Virginia. It likely doesn’t help his leverage that his basketball team is 9-43 and his hockey team is underperforming.
But at least around the nation’s capital, governments may have soured around paying for the stadiums of billionaires.