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First. Game. Ever.

April 7, 2017
Valor and Brigade Open Seasons Tonight 

We are launching our two AFL teams tonight as the Washington Valor and Baltimore Brigade play at Verizon Center. Ticket demand has been strong, but if you are looking for a fun, affordable and different night out, come join us. 

It’s been frenetic and an incredibly uplifting time of year. We have the AFL starting this evening. The Wizards have won 48 games thus far, secured home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs and play their home regular-season finale tomorrow. The Capitals won the Presidents’ Trophy as the top regular-season team in the NHL, have home-ice advantage throughout the playoffs and complete their home schedule Sunday. Then the playoffs begin. 

The Mystics season starts next month, and the team recently made a bold player trade, acquiring the WNBA’s 2015 MVP. We also have been engaged with Team Liquid and their tournaments as Monumental continues to play a greater role as an esports leader. Our arena staff has been fantastic, providing first-class customer service while juggling not only our teams but also several concerts, the AIPAC Conference, the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus’ farewell appearance and the Big 10 men’s basketball tournament. 

The Monumental Sports Network and Monumental Productions teams have created some outstanding content throughout the year and most recently related to the Valor and Brigade. This has led to nearly 40,000 downloads of our Monumental Sports Network apps and incredible content consumption by our fans. 

We have been busy, and that’s an understatement. 

I know this has been a frenzied pace for our staff. I’ve felt it, and I know they have felt it, too. Thank you to everyone at Monumental Sports & Entertainment as well as our broadcast outlets, CSN and Monumental Sports Network, for your continuous dedication. 

Managing our business operations for the Wizards and Capitals always has been a challenge we have embraced, but now we are starting two new AFL teams from scratch. And they play their first games ever tonight, against each other. I am extremely grateful that we have been able to pull off what some thought was impossible. It demonstrates a special gift and the passion each of our staff members have for their career and their working service to our community. Monumental is a house of brands with high-performing team, great venues and a growing and passionate fan base. It is a one-of-a-kind company thanks to all of you! 

Our AFL teams are going to join the Mystics as anchor content for our Monumental Sports Network OTT platform. Other broadcast outlets have interests in this programming, too. For example, CBS Sports Network will broadcast tonight’s game, but the best year-round coverage and behind-the-scenes storytelling will be available on Monumental Sports Network and its app. 

As you can tell, we are big believers in the AFL and look forward to working with the league to help it grow and expand in the right way and at the right time. Admittedly, we had no plans to acquire a second AFL team, but when the opportunity presented itself to place a team in Baltimore, it made too much sense to pass up. 

We want to help create jobs, generate tax revenue, drive people to the city for games and have fans spend time and money at businesses around the arena. That was the goal for the Valor, Verizon Center and Washington, D.C. It is also now our goal to do the same for the Brigade, Royal Farms Arena and Baltimore. 

I also have talked about the importance of our region, from Baltimore through Washington to Richmond, and that is why I joined with other regional CEOs in forming the Greater Washington Partnership. Our purpose is to spur economic development in that corridor. Baltimore has been a great market for the Capitals and Wizards – from fans attending games to watching on CSN. Both teams have played preseason games in the city, and it just seemed like a natural extension for Monumental Sports & Entertainment to expand and have a presence in Charm City. I have been invigorated by the response of Baltimore city officials, the business community, fans and media. Thank you for welcoming Monumental and the Brigade. We are looking forward to their May 7 home opener. 

In the near future we will be incorporating some exciting technology into our AFL games and broadcasts, and the data and interaction with fans will be incredible. The use of technology in arenas is much easier to control than outdoor stadiums, and we plan to experiment with some real-time data that isn’t available in the NBA, NHL, NFL or MLB. Stay tuned for more information. 

I’m excited about the opportunities and hearing from our fans about what excites them the most. The AFL is great for family entertainment – and it’s affordable. And the data we are going to share with fans is geared toward millennials and Gen Z, many of whom want and need more from their sports entertainment interactions. 

The AFL is a great product, and I’m excited for our teams and cities. It’s been a whirlwind the past weeks. All I really know is that one team will win, one will lose, there will be a lot of points scored and fans will have fun.

Go Brigade. Go Valor.