Naming of D.C. venue as Verizon Center symbolizes company's 'full-court press' as communications innovator

The renaming of the MCI Center this weekend is symbolic of the dynamics in the telecommunications industry today

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WASHINGTON - In business, sports analogies wear thin very quickly, but for Anthony Lewis, president of Verizon Washington, D.C., the renaming of the MCI Center this weekend is symbolic of the dynamics in the telecommunications industry today.

"It's not about a 'face-off,' or 'fouling out,' or even about the dynamics of a mosh pit, though there will always be a lot of that kind of action at the renamed Verizon Center," Lewis said. "The symbolism is simple: Competitive performance, savvy application of resources and a will to win are driving Verizon's business today - among a host of competitors in numerous product lines.

"When the people of Washington see the Verizon Center logo on the arena, on their ticket stubs, on their programs and on the scoreboards, something will resonate within them that Verizon is not just a phone company, a wireless company, a broadband company or a great, new business services company; it is a competitive force that is fostering change and progress across the board."

During a ceremony at the arena Sunday afternoon (March 5), the MCI Center name will officially be changed to the Verizon Center. MCI's resources have largely been absorbed into a new business unit, Verizon Business, which provides a host of communications services to large-business and government customers worldwide. One of the former MCI assets was the naming contract for the downtown arena, signed in 1995 and valid for at least 20 years.

"The venue's name has been the same since it opened eight years ago, and now it's changing," Lewis noted. "That will remind the patrons of the arena of the dynamics of today's telecommunications industry.

"Home and business service reliability; everyday broadband services; super-high-speed Internet access and all digital TV; dependable wireless calling and wireless broadband services; and a host of complex but essential business data services: These are the ways people work and play these days," Lewis said, "and Verizon is into all of it, with a laser focus on technology and customer service.

"It's all changing and getting better all the time. I'd like to think the red, black and white logo that goes up on the Washington Sports & Entertainment property reminds us all of those dynamics, that change and that progress," Lewis said.

Lewis will be part of the ceremonies on Sunday as the venue is officially renamed the Verizon Center. He will be joined by John Killian, president of the new business unit, Verizon Business.

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