Washington Mystics owner Ted Leonsis posted a lengthy blog entry on Monday where he clarified previous reports about a practice facility. The reports started earlier this November when WRC-TV reporter Mark Segraves indicated that among other things, the Mystics could move out of Verizon Center and play home games at a 5,000-seat arena when the facility opens.
Here's good news. Leonsis never thought about a 5,000-seat arena with a practice facility. That means that the Mystics aren't moving out of Verizon Center. From the blog:
We do want to build a best-in-class facility, but some of those erroneous media reports suggested a 5,000-seat arena. We weren’t even thinking along those lines, and if they had conducted a little research, it would have been evident that such a facility would not have been feasible in at least one of the locations mentioned.
And above that excerpt, he also repeated his point about the Mystics using this practice facility as a practice facility.
We are keeping our options open, considering the facility as a practice location for the WNBA’s Mystics and possibly the home to a NBA Development League team.
Some other main points from his blog:
- The project is still in very early stages. No location has been set, Leonsis has been on the record about it since 2013.
- Once a decision is made on where to build a practice facility, it can still take another 18-24 months to construct it.
- The Verizon Center has only one regulation court. When the building was constructed, this was still not an adequate facility. In 1997. So with many NBA teams building bigger facilities, that makes the Verizon Center's one court and shared weight room between the Wizards NBA and Capitals NHL teams even more dated.
- The Washington Capitals' Kettler Capitals Iceplex has over 1 million visitors a year and hosts many community events. He hopes the new basketball practice facility would also be able to serve the local community as much as it does for his teams.
- 18 NBA teams have or will soon have an off-site practice facility.
Glad to see that the Mystics will be in Verizon Center for years to come. Hopefully they can get their home court advantage up to its potential once again.