The Washington Mystics are gearing up for their postseason run, they play the New York Liberty on Friday at Madison Square Garden in Game 1 of their series. The Washington Wizards are just a few weeks away from starting their 2015-2-16 campaign with training camp just a couple of weeks away. It’s been in talks for quite a while, but it’s finally come to fruition. A facility will be shared by both the mens and womens teams, serving different purposes for each.
It’ll be a practice facility for the Wizards, which will be an upgrade from their small gym at the Verizon Center. It’s also not anything new for NBA teams, the facility will also be used for other events as well. It’s also going to be the home of their future D-League team.
City made it a point to sell facility as more than Wizards practice home. Claims will host “over 90 non-basketball related events per year.”
— Jorge Castillo (@jorgeccastillo) September 15, 2015
Grunfeld said the Wizards’ future D-League team will play at the new arena.
— Jorge Castillo (@jorgeccastillo) September 16, 2015
As for the Mystics, it’ll be their home. Not just as a practice facility, but as their home arena. They’ve been playing their home games in the Verizon Center and for the WNBA crowd, it’s far too much space which leaves many empty seats. The 5,000 seat arena will give the Mystics an even better home court environment and a place to call their own.
First team mentioned at presser: Mystics. Bowser introduces facility as Mystics home. Doesn’t mention Wizards. — Jorge Castillo (@jorgeccastillo) September 16, 2015
It’s been reported that the project will cost $55 million, taking up close to 118,00 square feet. A great breakdown as to how that estimate will be paid for and who will fund it came from a great piece from the Washington Post written by Jonathan O’Connel Below is an excerpt from that piece:
In the deal, taxpayers would pay for about 90 percent of the cost of a $55 million entertainment and sports complex. The District would use $23 million from capital improvements already approved for the St. Elizabeths site and combine it with $27 million from Events DC, which is funded with hotel and restaurant taxes.The parent company of the teams, Monumental Sports & Entertainment, will pay $5 million toward construction. The amount equates to what the company would pay over a 19-year lease. Monumental has also agreed to spend $10 million toward “redevelopment and community philanthropic investments”
It’s great for the organization, especially the relationship between an NBA and WNBA team. Maybe other teams will emulate this going forward, but 2018 is still a ways away. Can’t hurt to think that the Mystics could be hosting a round in the playoffs at their new facility in 2018, or the Wizards D-League team could already be up and going. It will be interesting to see which non-basketball events end up getting booked at the new facility, but that’ll have to wait until it officially opens. For now, it’s a good step for both teams and an Owner that is supporting both his WNBA and NBA teams. The Mystics take on the Liberty at 7pm EST on Friday night, Wizards officially get going on September 28 which is Media Day.