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BULLETS AND CAPITALS OWNER POLLIN ANNOUNCES ARENA DEAL
Published June 8, 1995
Bullets and Capitals Owner Abe Pollin announced yesterday the new $175M arena to be built in downtown Washington will be called the MCI Center. The WASHINGTON POST's Ken Denlinger writes that the advantage of moving to the MCI Center will be, "more money. Lots more money." Pollin may also face a reversal in attendance trends as the Bullets figure to increase their attendance "significantly," while the Capitals could lose "quite a bit" of their fan base in the move (WASHINGTON POST, 6/8). While financial details were not disclosed, MCI said it will spend "millions" on the new arena, while NationsBank will be the primary lender, according to Lorraine Woellert of the WASHINGTON TIMES. Ticket proceeds will pay off debt serrvice while MCI will get no equity in the center or Pollin's teams (WASHINGTON TIMES, 6/8). INTERACTIVE ARENA: Michael Fletcher and Maryann Haggerty report that the MCI Center will be a "showcase" for cutting-edge technology allowing fans to participate in everything from choosing particular replays to contributing to crowd surveys. The arena will likely have such "innovations" as seat-back monitors that will enable fans to call up instant replays from different angles, and the on-line ability to allow fans to vote for game MVPs or ask game-related questions. Pollin: "MCI Center will be the most unique arena in the world in terms of advanced technology." While MCI's investment in the MCI Center is small compared with their $2B investment in Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., MCI CEO & Chair Bert Roberts said this move solidifies MCI diversification "into entertainment" (WASHINGTON POST, 6/8). The seating capacity for the arena is expected to be 20,000, with 110 suites and 3,000 club seats. Groundbreaking is scheduled for the fall of '95 with an estimated completion in the fall of '97 (MCI Center).