As the Washington Nationals prepare to welcome a limited number of spectators into the ballpark for the first time since pandemic struck, a prominent local sports owner is bemoaning the DC government for not allowing fans to watch the city’s NBA and NHL teams play in person.
Ted Leonsis, whose Monumental Sports & Entertainment owns both the Washington Wizards and the Washington Capitals, said in a Tweet Monday that he was “disappointed” that the city had so far failed to grant his teams’ request for a waiver permitting fans to attend games at 10 percent of the Capital One Arena’s capacity. “Our staff have worked tirelessly putting in place numerous infrastructure upgrades & health and safety protocols to protect fans & staff,” Leonsis said in his Tweet.
All of us @MSE are disappointed with the city’s failure to grant our waiver allowing fans to attend @Capitals & @WashWizards games this season. Our staff have worked tirelessly putting in place numerous infrastructure upgrades & health and safety protocols to protect fans & staff https://t.co/yOp6S49Zj1
— Ted Leonsis (@TedLeonsis) April 5, 2021
According to the Washington Business Journal, while the city has already granted waivers allowing professional sports teams that play outdoors—such as the Nats and the D.C. United soccer club—to welcome a reduced number of spectators into their stadiums, district officials are still deciding whether to not to grant waiver requests for teams that play in indoor arenas, like the Caps and the Wizards.
The Caps are one of only two NHL teams in the US still playing in empty home stadiums, the Washington Business Journal notes. The Wizards are among the eight NBA clubs still doing so.
In a statement about DC’s decision obtained by The Washington Post’s caps beat writer, Samantha Pell, Monumental Sport’s president of external affairs and chief administrative officer Monica Dixon said that “the Caps and Wizards regular season ends in May and it appears we will complete the 20-21 season with no fans in attendance.”
She continued, “this means Washington, D.C. is on track to be one of the last American cities to host fans at indoor sporting events.”