(VitalNews.org) – A recently announced deal to move two of Washington D.C.’s popular sports teams to the state of Virginia could see the city lose revenue of $25 million each year. On Wednesday December 13, Virginian officials revealed a deal with Monumental Sports and Entertainment, the company that owns the NHL’s Washington Capitals and the NBA’s Washington Wizards, that would see both teams relocated to Alexandria, Virginia.
Washington D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser framed the possible move as a positive, despite the massive loss of income. Although she and her fellow officials offered a $500 million deal to the sports company in an attempt to keep the teams in her district, she referred to the potentially vacated five acres of real estate in D.C. as a “great asset”. CEO of Monumental Sports and Entertainment, Ted Leonsis, was quick to remind the press during a news conference that his company in fact owns the Capital One arena in D.C., so the area would not automatically be freed up as an “asset” as Bowser had discussed. Leonsis said that his company had invested $200 million into the arena in the last decade and added that he saw it as a potential venue for hosting concerts and women’s sports.
While Leonsis did not go into detail about the inspiration behind the Virginia move, other than that it offered “70 acres” and a “clean slate”, others have speculated that Washington D.C.’s soaring crime rates could have made the city much less attractive to investors, including Leonsis. Violent crime in the district is up by 40% compared to the previous year, although Democrat Mayor Bowser remains convinced that this is merely a “blip”.
D.C. Council Member Charles Allen blamed Bowser’s administration, saying that her team should have prioritized the Capital One Arena when making investments in the city’s future. He added that the city had missed an opportunity to focus on the “cultural and economic engines” of D.C., and that this neglect had contributed to the potential loss of two prominent sports teams and $25 million of revenue each year.
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