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MedStar secures naming rights to Capitals, Wizards training facilities

The Capitals’ practice facility will be known as MedStar Capitals Iceplex under a new sponsorship deal. (Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post)

The teams that compete under the Monumental Sports & Entertainment banner are dissimilar in so many ways, and thus, the athletes who compete for Monumental in professional basketball, hockey, indoor football and even video gaming have different medical needs and training regimens. But they’ll now share a medical provider and an innovative new model under a deal that could be one of the most wide-reaching health-care partnerships in professional sports.

The Ted Leonsis-run pro sports enterprise announced a 10-year agreement Monday that gives MedStar Health naming rights for three Washington-area practice facilities: the Capitals’ training rinks in Arlington, formerly called Kettler Capitals Iceplex; the new basketball training facility in Southeast Washington that will house the Wizards, the Mystics and the Capital City Go-Go, the city’s new G League team; and the training space used by Wizards District Gaming, the esports team that competes in the NBA 2K League and practices in a facility adjacent to Capital One Arena.

“We are thrilled to enter into this innovative partnership with them that will bring MedStar’s unparalleled excellence in health care to every single team in the Monumental Sports family,” Leonsis said in a statement. “We hope that this expanded partnership will help reimagine the way teams in professional sports approach delivering the very best medical care.”

The deal was formally announced at a news conference Monday morning in Arlington. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Under the naming rights deal, the esports training facility in Chinatown will become the MedStar Wizards District Gaming Studio. The Capitals’ Arlington facility, which has become a popular destination for fans to watch practices and morning skates, will become MedStar Capitals Iceplex. (That facility had been known as Kettler Capitals Iceplex since it opened in the fall of 2006.) And the practice facility at Washington’s new basketball arena, the $65 million project in Ward 8 on the former St. Elizabeths hospital grounds, will be named MedStar Wizards Performance Center. It is expected to open this fall; the arena itself does not yet have a naming rights deal.

“We are also very proud to have MedStar join us in bringing their powerful brand to southeast Washington,” Leonsis said. “We are focused on making the MedStar Wizards Performance Center a vibrant part of the community in Anacostia, and we are thrilled to have MedStar partner with us in this effort.”

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MedStar Health already provided health-care services and sponsored training camp and practice-jersey patches for the Wizards and Capitals. The new deal encompasses all of the Monumental teams, including its two Arena Football League franchises, and aims to create a novel health-care model, according to Monumental officials.

MedStar will establish a council of medical professionals who provide services to the teams. That council will assess, discuss and administer best practices and training techniques for each squad. A single medical director will be appointed to oversee the entire operation. The council will meet monthly, alongside trainers, coaches and team executives, to exchange ideas and best practices and to discuss what they’re seeing on each roster and in each discipline.

“We think we can get a competitive advantage in treating every sport and every player so they can get to their top-top performance parameters,” Leonsis said at Monday’s news conference. “That’s why this partnership is just so meaningful for us.”

Jim Van Stone, Monumental’s president of business operations, said the arrangement is potentially “game-changing,” allowing constant discussion and ensuring that each team will be keep abreast of the most advanced sports medicine regimens, sports training techniques and new technologies.

“Having one partner across all properties really allows you to open up the dialogue and the communication on what’s really the most cutting-edge techniques and preparing athletes for peak performance,” he said. “I think the integration of the medical council allows, really, that open dialogue among the teams. Each of the sports we have here at Monumental is just completely different.”

MedStar is not the only medical provider to enter into a high-profile agreement with a Washington professional sports team. In 2016, the Redskins renamed their Ashburn headquarters the Inova Sports Performance Center at Redskins Park, and the team’s Richmond training camp is sponsored by Bon Secours Health System.

But Monumental’s varied holdings could make its new deal more noteworthy.

“The collaboration of all these different training teams and medical teams really working together, I think, is really going to put us in a fantastic position,” Van Stone said. “I don’t think there’s another opportunity out there that brings all these different facets under one umbrella.”

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