Washington Mystics fans have been monitoring a situation going on with Monumental Sports' intent on building a new basketball practice facility which they would use along with the Washington Wizards NBA team. While a new practice facility is welcome (and overdue), the facility would also include a 5,000-seat arena, which reports last week said could be the Mystics' new home venue.
Though the topic of the Mystics moving may be simply speculation, the stated possibility of their exile to a smaller venue in a practice facility doesn't sit well with their fans. One fan, Sara Flannigan (who is one of our resident Mystics fans as MysticsFan1) created a petition to send a clear message to Monumental Sports: Keep the Mystics playing at Verizon Center.
Below is the mission statement for the petition:
The Mystics are as important and deserve rights like the Wizards and Capitals and should play in the same arena.
Shaw isn't easy to walk to for fans who can walk to the Verizon Center. Other potential locations are in the suburbs, and a lot of Mystics fans won't appreciate the commute.
The Mystics deserve a real arena, not a practice facility that the Wizards use for practice.
To sign the petition, click here.
If you're wondering where I stand on the issue, I also believe that the Mystics are better off playing in Verizon Center than being moved to an arena which would hold fewer people than their 2014 average attendance figure of 7,229. Doing so could have more negative consequences than positive ones. This applies not only to the Mystics, but perhaps to the WNBA as a whole. What kind of a message does this send to the league?
Queenie laid out two examples of the New York Liberty playing games away from Madison Square Garden during the 2004 season at Radio City Music Hall, and in Newark, NJ from 2011-2013. Both of these moves, while temporary, were still negative experiences:
The Mystics have two examples up I-95 to analyze as to why [moving to a smaller arena] would be a bad idea.
Move to a smaller arena, one that is actually less than your stated attendance? Ask the Liberty about the Radio City experience. (Especially ask Swin Cash.)
Move to an arena away from mass transit, away from your primary season ticket base, away from most of your walk-up traffic, and then raise prices on top of it? Ask the Liberty about the Prudential Center experience.
Even if the likelihood of this happening is not very high, it is better to voice a opinion on the issue and the practice facility -- which the Mystics quite frankly haven't been involved in enough -- than to be passive about it.
I encourage you all to sign the petition. Keep the Mystics at Verizon Center where they belong.