WASHINGTON - Almost two months after Verizon Communications officially announced the closing of its merger with MCI, the MCI Center, the 20,000-seat sports and entertainment facility in the nation's capital, will officially become the Verizon Center. The new logo associated with the new name will also be unveiled on Sunday, March 5, when the Verizon Center hosts its first event: an NBA game between the Washington Wizards and the Sacramento Kings.
"We'll have a new name, but fans will have the same great experience," said Washington Sports and Entertainment Chairman Abe Pollin. "We welcome Verizon as our new corporate partner and namesake as we continue to provide premier sports and entertainment events for our nation's capital."
"Great moments in sports and entertainment have taken place in the arena that now will be known as the Verizon Center," said John Killian, president of Verizon Business, the business unit created with the merger of Verizon and MCI that provides communications services to large business and government customers around the world. "Verizon looks forward, with the people of the D.C. metropolitan area, to a future packed with more thrills bursting from this great venue."
The countdown leading up to the official name change will consist of the following events at the building:
- Wednesday, March 1 -- The Wizards play the last NBA game under the MCI name.
- Thursday, March 2 -- The last concert is performed under the MCI name, as Coldplay and Fiona Apple take the stage in front of a sold-out crowd and are presented with commemorative tickets backstage.
- Friday, March 3 -- The last time the ice will have the MCI Center logo before it is replaced with the new Verizon Center logo.
- Saturday, March 4 -- The last time the basketball court will have the MCI Center logo before it is replaced with the new Verizon Center logo.
- Sunday, March 5 - The Wizards play the first NBA game at the renamed Verizon Center; 10,000 rally towels detailing the new name will be distributed; a new Web site for the center will be launched (www.verizoncenter.com); and a special presentation announcing the new name will take place.
- Monday, March 6 -- The Capitals play the first NHL game at the renamed Verizon Center; 10,000 rally towels detailing the new name will be distributed; and a video montage of all the changes that occurred surrounding the name change will be distributed to the local media and posted on the new Verizon Center Web site (www.verizoncenter.com).
Additional changes throughout the building will include new signage on the scoreboard and the doors of the main entrances on F Street and G Street, directional signage inside and outside the building, and exterior signage.
The center is home to the NBA's Washington Wizards, the NHL's Washington Capitals, the WNBA's Washington Mystics and the Georgetown Hoyas men's basketball team. In the eight years since the center opened, almost 20 million people have attended more than 1,654 events ranging from professional sporting events to concerts to family shows to world-class tournaments and trade shows. In 2005, the center was ranked ninth worldwide among venues according to Billboard magazine, thus continuing its tradition of being a top 10 sports and entertainment venue year after year.
Sheila Francis, Washington Sports & Entertainment, 202-661-5000
Matt Williams, Washington Sports & Entertainment, 202-661-5000
Jim Smith, Verizon, 212-395-7748
Christy Reap, Verizon, 202-392-1021
MCI Center (soon to be Verizon Center), a state-of-the-art facility, located in downtown Washington, is owned and operated by Washington Sports and Entertainment, LP. WS&ELP also includes the Washington Wizards of the NBA; Ticketmaster, the Washington-Baltimore ticketing service; and Musicentre Productions, an in-house concert promoter and management of the George Mason University Patriot Center in Fairfax, VA.