Verizon Center is a 20,000-seat multi-purpose sports and entertainment venue, owned and operated by Monumental Sports & Entertainment, in the Penn Quarter neighborhood of Chinatown in downtown Washington, D.C. The arena is home to the NBA’s Washington Wizards, the NHL’s Washington Capitals, the WNBA’s Washington Mystics and the NCAA’s Georgetown Hoyas men’s basketball team.
Boasting an average of 220 events per year, Verizon Center is the heart of a $7 billion redevelopment that began 15 years ago when the arena was envisioned and built by late owner Abe Pollin and his wife, Irene Pollin, after previously building the Capital Centre arena in Landover, Md. Since the Pollin’s realized their vision on Dec. 2, 1997, with the opening of the privately financed new arena in downtown Washington, 36.5 million people have attended more than 3,087 events.
The surrounding neighborhood throughout the years has been rejuvenated by a plethora of restaurants, condominiums and businesses, making the Seventh Street corridor its own Times Square.
Accrediting the revitalization of the downtown neighborhood to late owner Abe Pollin, and his wife Irene Pollin, for building Verizon Center(formerly known as MCI Center), the District of Columbia renamed the street in front of Verizon Center “Abe Pollin Way” in 2007.
In June 2010, Ted Leonsis became the majority owner of Verizon Center and formed Monumental Sports & Entertainment. The newly formed entity includes ownership of the NBA’s Washington Wizards, the NHL’s Washington Capitals, the WNBA’s Washington Mystics and Verizon Center. Monumental Sports & entertainment also manages Kettler Capitals Iceplex and the Patriot Center at George Mason University.
As an arena in the heart of downtown Washington, D.C., Verizon Center has hosted a multitude of high-profile events in its history, ranging from the 1998 Stanley Cup Final to the NBA (2001) and WNBA (2002, 2007) All-Star games to the 2003 World Figure Skating Championship, the 2005 ACC Tournament, the first and second rounds of the NCAA Division I men’s basketball tournament (1998, 2002, 2008) as well as the second and third rounds (2011), the 2006 Washington Regional Round and the 2009 NCAA Frozen Four men’s hockey championship.
Entertainment at the arena would not be complete without concerts and family shows ranging from all-time greats to current-day chart-topping artists. In the 15-year history of the arena some of the artists who have roamed the halls and mastered the stage at Verizon Center include: U2, Justin Timberlake, The Three Tenors, Barbra Streisand, Bon Jovi, Prince, Tim McGraw & Faith Hill, Beyonce, the Dalai Lama, Keith Urban, Jeff Dunham, Christina Aguilera, Disney on Ice and WWE.
In terms of history, only two events have taken place each of the past 15 years at Verizon Center, as well as each of the past 38 plus years dating back to the old Capital Centre arena making them the longest tenured events between both buildings: the Harlem Globetrotters (1973) and the Washington International Horse Show (1975).
Located within the arena are 106 luxury suites, a high-definition center-hung scoreboard, an indoor basketball practice facility and 10 dressing rooms. The arena offers a variety of concession stands and restaurants with menu choices ranging from pizza at Papa John’s to donuts at Dunkin Donuts. Additional arena fare includes hot dogs, crab cakes, chicken fingers and deli sandwiches. Kosher, vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options are also available.
Other amenities in the arena include the private Owner’s Club, the private Acela Club restaurant for club members, the Dewar’s 12 Coaches Club, The Player’s Club, The Clubhouse, Volkswagen Theatre, The Greene Turtle Sports Bar & Grille, Team Store and VIDA Fitness and Bang Salon.