- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Move over Verizon, Capital One is the new sponsor for D.C.’s downtown arena.

The home of the Capitals and Wizards will now be called Capital One Arena, starting immediately, owner Ted Leonsis announced Wednesday. The arena, previously called Verizon Center, will also receive a $40 million investment from Monumental Sports and Entertainment, which is also owned by Leonsis.

Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

“Capital One is one of the most influential local businesses in our region over the last two decades, so we couldn’t be more pleased to partner with another homegrown company to create more incredible memories for sports fans, music fans, families and friends all across our region,” Leonsis said in a press release. “Capital One shares our deep commitment to both economic and philanthropic investment in the larger Washington, D.C., community, and we look forward to working closely with them.

“We are also proud today to be announcing a significant investment by Monumental Sports and Entertainment to continue improving the arena experience for every fan who comes through our doors. We want every fan’s experience at Capital One Arena to be monumental.”

The change comes on the heels of the arena’s 20th anniversary. Late Wizards owner Abe Pollin opened the arena in 1997, first known as the MCI Center. The arena seats 20,500 and is located in Chinatown.

Verizon was named the previous naming rights partner in 2006.

Capital One founder, chairman and CEO Richard Fairbank is a minority owner of Monumental Sports & Entertainment. A Monumental official said Fairbank recused himself from the negotiations.

“As a top local employer and major consumer brand, Capital One has deep roots in Washington, D.C., and we are excited to strengthen our contributions to the sports and entertainment landscape in our own backyard,” said Kleber Santos, Capital One retail and direct banking president, in a statement. “Monumental Sports and Entertainment shares our commitment to strengthening the economic and social well-being of the local community, and we are thrilled to partner with them on Capital One Arena.”

The $40 million investment will go toward upgrading the “Monumental360” program, designed to analyze fan preferences and collect data, and install a new point of sale system. Capital One cardholders will get discounts on food, merchandise and beverages once the point of sale system is installed.

Capital One Arena is privately owned and Leonsis acquired the building in 2010.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

• Matthew Paras can be reached at mparas@washingtontimes.com.

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