This post has been updated.
One day after saying that the tiny, wealthy nation of Qatar had agreed to pay the $100,000 fee to keep Metro open an extra hour after Game 4 of the Capitals’ Eastern Conference finals series on Thursday, D.C. Council member Jack Evans, also chair of the Metro board, said the deal has hit a snag.
“It’s not off,” Evans told The Post on Wednesday when asked about a report from NBC Washington’s Adam Tuss, who cited a Metro source that said no money had been exchanged between the two parties. “We’re still negotiating. They hit a snag, though.”
Evans, who isn’t directly involved with the negotiations, said his understanding is that the holdup is related to a change Qatari officials requested in the standard contract Metro issues to sponsors.
“[Qatari officials] signed the deal and sent it back, but they had made a change,” Evans said. “Metro can’t agree to any changes in the standard contract without approval from the Metro board. We’d have to go back to the board and have a meeting between now and tomorrow. They’re trying to figure out some way to deal with that, so it’s not over, but it’s not on either.”
“There was no agreement,” Metro spokesman Dan Stessel said in a statement provided to The Post on Wednesday. “The parties were unable to come to terms.”
Last week, Evans said he had been in discussions with a couple of companies that were considering paying the $100,000 fee to keep Metro open an additional hour for the Capitals’ home playoff games this series. Exelon and Pepco stepped up for Tuesday’s Game 3. On Tuesday, Evans told The Washington Post that Qatar would sponsor the extra hour for Game 4, which would keep Metro open until 12:30 a.m. Puck drop is scheduled for 8 p.m.
Evans led a delegation of D.C. government officials and private business representatives to Qatar and the United Arab Emirates last April in hopes of getting foreign investors interested D.C. projects. The government of Qatar previously invested heavily in the development of D.C.’s City Center.
During last Thursday’s Metro board meeting, Evans mentioned that he was looking into closing streets around Capital One Arena during home games this series so fans could gather and watch the action on a big screen, something that has become popular in several NHL cities in recent years.
On Friday, Evans put the chances of clearing all of the logistical and bureaucratic hurdles required to organize an outdoor viewing party in time for Tuesday’s Game 3 at about 70 percent, but it didn’t happen. There’s unlikely to be a watch party for Thursday’s Game 4, either, with Evans mentioning the rain in the forecast as one of the factors.
“Wouldn’t that be great if we had 10,000 people sitting on the museum steps there, across from [Capital One Arena] watching the game?” Evans said. “People who can’t necessarily afford to go into the arena and pay could be outside watching it, or even on game night in Tampa Bay, to use the arena for people to come and watch the game.”
Evans originally said the most likely plan would involve closing G Street between Seventh and Eighth streets NW. The game would be projected — with sound — on a screen near the McDonald’s at the intersection of Seventh and G. On Tuesday, Evans said he’s looking into closing an even larger area around the arena for a watch party should the Capitals advance to the Stanley Cup.
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Game summary: Capitals 6, Lightning 2