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Volume 26 No. 179
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WNBA Mystics Enjoying Better Home Atmosphere At New Arena

The energy of the crowd at the Mystics' home debut at ESA was magnified by the coziness of the venue
Photo: NBAE/GETTY IMAGES
The energy of the crowd at the Mystics' home debut at ESA was magnified by the coziness of the venue
Photo: NBAE/GETTY IMAGES
The energy of the crowd at the Mystics' home debut at ESA was magnified by the coziness of the venue
Photo: NBAE/GETTY IMAGES

The WNBA Washington Mystics drew a sellout crowd of 4,200 for their home debut at Entertainment & Sports Arena on Saturday for their win over the Atlanta Dream, and although there were a "few empty seats scattered around the floor, the energy and noise level couldn't go unnoticed," according to Adam Zielonka of the WASHINGTON TIMES. From '17-18, the Mystics saw a 21% drop in attendance to an average of 6,136 fans per game at Capital One Arena. The "irony" of the new arena and its lower capacity is that the Mystics' average attendance "can only drop again." But for the team and players, the number is "less important than the impact of a tightly-packed gym." Nobody around the Mystics is "shy about using the phrase 'home-court advantage' when comparing the ESA with the cavernous Capital One." The Mystics "celebrated their first game at the ESA with a block party outside the building, which included live music, game stations and autograph sessions with former players" (WASHINGTON TIMES, 6/3). In DC, Ava Wallace noted the crowd was "loud and amped -- an energy magnified by the coziness of the venue." Mystics Owner Ted Leonsis "watched the game courtside" (WASHINGTONPOST.com, 6/1).

HOME SWEET HOME: In DC, Kelly Cohen wrote "lively doesn't begin to describe how it felt" in the ESA for Saturday's game. Even when the Mystics were up more than 20 points, "cheers saturated the arena." It "felt like a community was forming around the team," and though it "wasn't a total sellout, it certainly felt like one." Mystics F Elena Delle Donne said, "This place feels so much like home already. It's such an advantage, so it was huge for us" (NBCSPORTSWASHINGTON.com, 6/1).

COMING UP SHORT: In Las Vegas, Alan Snel noted the "much heralded" WNBA Las Vegas Aces "lost their second straight game" yesterday, and attendance has taken a "big dive." The Aces announced a "crowd of more than 7,000 fans -- 7,249 -- last week, but attendance dropped to 2,747 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center" for Sunday's game (LVSPORTSBIZ.com, 6/2).