Washington Capitals owner Ted Leonsis announced yesterday that Richard Fairbank, Capital One Financial Corporation's chairman and chief executive officer, has joined his ownership group as an investor and partner.

Fairbank, 51, becomes the seventh partner of Lincoln Holdings, LLC, the owner of the Capitals and 44 percent of Washington Sports and Entertainment, which includes the Wizards and Mystics, MCI Center, Capital Centre and Ticketmaster Washington/Baltimore. Terms of the deal were not released.

"I never really thought about owning a sports team until Ted called," Fairbank said. "But Ted wants to take sports [in Washington] to a new level of advancement. There is a bright and exciting scene here and [the ownership group] has a great track record in Washington."

Fairbank joins Dick Patrick, Raul Fernandez, Jack Davies, Richard Ka and George Stamas as partners along with Leonsis.

Prior to yesterday's announcement, Fairbank's only involvement with professional sports had been as a Capitals and Wizards' season ticket holder for the past 12 years.

"He's such a hard-core fan that he goes to the games with his family and then goes home and watches the game again on video tape," said Leonsis, majority owner and chairman of Lincoln Holdings, LLC.

"Rich is one of the most dynamic people I know," Leonsis added. "He is a winner and a very accomplished executive."

Fairbank was one of the founders of Falls Church-based Capital One Financial Corporation in 1988. The corporation has approximately 43.8 million customers and manages loans of around $45.3 billon.

"Ted Leonsis and his partners have brought an exciting vision and tremendous energy to the Washington sports scene," Fairbank said. "I'm happy to be a part of it."