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Wizards, Capitals owner Ted Leonsis reportedly spoke with Maryland Gov. Wes Moore about arena plans

Washington Wizards owner Ted Leonsis sits during the second half of an NBA basketball game between the Washington Wizards and the Charlotte Hornets, Friday, March 8, 2024, in Washington. The Wizards won 112-100. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Washington Wizards and Washington Capitals owner Ted Leonsis has to regroup after his plans for a sports entertainment district fell through in Virginia. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon) (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

A few weeks after Ted Leonsis and his plans to bring the Washington Capitals and Washington Wizards to Virginia were spurned, he's reportedly pivoted.

According to the Baltimore Banner, the owner of the two professional sports teams had a conversation with Maryland Gov. Wes Moore about bringing his franchises to the Old Line State.

Even though such a move isn't considered likely at this point, Leonsis needed to act quickly. Both the Wizards and Capitals have played at the Capital One Arena since 1997, and the venue needs refurbishments at the very minimum.

The $2 billion plans in Potomac Yards fell though after "a very formal handshake and understanding” occurred between Leonsis and Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin. Once bills in Virginia's House of Delegates and Senate failed to pass, the entertainment district in Alexandria, Virginia, was left off the state budget.

This all followed Leonsis rejecting Washington D.C.'s offer to keep the teams in the nation's capital. When D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser found out Leonsis could potentially move out of the city, the district included $500 million in public funds to entice him to remain.

It's even thought that the talks with Maryland were done to help Leonsis regain some negotiating power with D.C. One of the main reasons Maryland isn't thought of as a likely destination for the two teams is because of its previous commitments or agreements with other organizations.

Maryland is taking over the rights to Pimlico Race Course, working on a development rights plan for Camden Yards and has committed $400 in public bonds for development projects related to Commanders Field.

The state also has approximately two weeks remaining in the legislative session, which leaves very little room to rework the budget.

On Tuesday, Maryland Senate President Bill Ferguson told the Banner conversations have been brought to him about bringing the Capitals and Wizards to the state. If such a discussion were to come up, however, he'd entertain it.

”If there’s an opportunity to enhance economic development and something that doesn’t cost the taxpayers in a way that is unreasonable, and find a way for additional investment — certainly we should be open to it,” Ferguson said.