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WASHINGTON — The NBA’s Washington Wizards and NHL’s Washington Capitals are staying in the District of Columbia for the long term after ownership and the city reached an agreement on a $515 million arena project.

Owner Ted Leonsis and Mayor Muriel Bowser signed a letter of intent on Wednesday for the deal, which keeps the teams in the district through 2050. They announced the development at a joint news conference at Capital One Arena minutes later.

“It’s a great day, and I’m really relieved,” Leonsis said. “This was not only the right thing for the community, the right thing for the city, the right thing for us, it’s a really smart business deal.”

The project is set to include 200,000 square feet of expansion of the arena complex into the nearby Gallery Place space, the creation of an entertainment district in the surrounding Chinatown neighborhood and safety and transportation upgrades.

“We are the current home and the future home of the Washington Capitals and Washington Wizards,” said Bowser, who donned a Wizards jersey. “As Ted likes to say, we’re going to be together for a long time.”

In a statement, District of Columbia Attorney General Brian Schwalb said residents “could not have been louder or clearer in expressing their desire for the teams to stay.”

“This outcome will have significant positive impacts on economic development, public safety, and overall District energy and spirit generated by the millions of people who attend games, shows, and concerts at Capital One Arena,” Schwalb said.

The Council of the District of Columbia will take up the deal next week and is expected to pass it, chairman Phil Mendelson said at the news conference.

The agreement between Monumental Sports & Entertainment and the city came as Alexandria officials said talks for a new arena that would have moved the teams to Virginia had ended. Leonsis acknowledged Virginia had land as an advantage that the district didn’t.

“You’re in this arms race to build bigger and better and higher quality, and we’ve been running out of space,” Leonsis said, referencing the new entertainment community the agreement envisions that is not nearly as big as the 12 acres that were dedicated to the arena in Virginia. “But it’s enough.”

The ultrawealthy entrepreneur said he generally wanted to avoid discussing Virginia but did throw a few jabs at the state, where political divisions between Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin and Democrats who control the Virginia General Assembly contributed to the plan’s demise.

“You can’t do it alone, and I felt that we were really in a good partnership,” Leonsis said, “as opposed to where I thought I would have a great partnership.”

The development is a blow to Youngkin, who announced months ago with fanfare the outlines of a proposal negotiated with the teams’ parent company to bring them across the Potomac River.

In a statement on Wednesday, the governor expressed disappointment and frustration, laying blame with Democrats.

“This should have been our deal and our opportunity, all the General Assembly had to do was say: ‘thank you, Monumental, for wanting to come to Virginia and create $12 billion of economic investment, let’s work it out.’ But no, personal and political agendas drove away” the deal, he said.

Democrats responded by saying Youngkin had mismanaged the proposal from the start. House Speaker Don Scott said he was blown away by Youngkin’s statement, which Scott said seemed like it had been written by a teenager, and bristled at the suggestion that the Legislature should have given the deal an easy sign-off.

“He has lost his sense of good judgment right now,” said Scott, who had not fully endorsed the deal but expressed openness to it.

He added that from the tone of the statement, he said Youngkin might retaliate by vetoing the budget lawmakers sent him earlier this month.

Alexandria, which first announced the news, said in a statement posted to its website that it also was disappointed.

“We negotiated a framework for this opportunity in good faith and participated in the process in Richmond in a way that preserved our integrity,” the statement said. “We trusted this process and are disappointed in what occurred between the Governor and General Assembly.”

Matt Kelly, the CEO of publicly traded real estate company JBG SMITH, a partner to the Alexandria deal as the proposed developer, issued a blistering statement that laid blame on “partisan politics” and raised the prospect that “potential pay-to-play” influences had a hand in the project’s downfall.

“Beyond the arena, state and local governments will lose needed tax revenue, economic development credibility, and what could have been Virginia’s last best chance to land a professional sports franchise for at least a generation,” Kelly said.

The Virginia plan called for the creation of a $2 billion development district in the Potomac Yard section of Alexandria, with not only a new arena but also a practice facility and corporate headquarters for Monumental in addition to a separate performing arts venue.

The general assembly was asked to set up an authority that would issue bonds to finance most of the project, backed partly by the city and state governments and repaid through a mix of projected tax revenues recaptured from the development.

Youngkin and other supporters said the development would generate tens of thousands of jobs, along with new tax revenues beyond what would have been needed to cover the financing.

The plan faced opposition from labor unions, Alexandria residents concerned about traffic and District of Columbia officials who feared the loss of the teams would devastate downtown Washington.

Youngkin and other backers also failed to win over powerful Democratic Sen. L. Louise Lucas of Portsmouth, who chairs the Senate’s budget-writing committee. She used that position to block the legislation, citing a range of concerns but foremost the financing structure of the deal: The use of moral obligation bonds put taxpayers and the state’s finances at risk, Lucas said.

Lucas celebrated the proposal’s demise on Wednesday. On social media, she posted a cartoon of herself swatting away a basketball with the word “REJECTED” superimposed. She wrote, “As Monumental announces today they are staying in Washington DC we are celebrating in Virginia that we avoided the Monumental Disaster!”

Leonsis had shifted his tone on social media in recent days, pointing to large crowds in Capital One Arena this month for everything from the Capitals and Wizards to ACC tournament basketball and a Zach Bryan concert. He posted Wednesday that Monumental expected over 400,000 fans to pass through turnstiles in March.

He and Bowser began talks about keeping the teams in the district not long after Virginia disclosed its offer, including through regular meetings in a posh hotel lobby, Leonsis said.

“Until 10 minutes ago, I had never signed a piece of paper,” Leonsis said.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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Reddick wins in Talladega after McDowell crashes

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Reddick wins in Talladega after McDowell crashes

TALLADEGA, Ala. — Tyler Reddick stole a NASCAR Cup victory at Talladega Superspeedway when front-runner Michael McDowell, swerving up and down the track trying to block Brad Keselowski, wound up crashing with the finish line in sight Sunday.

It was another wild Talladega finish — and set off a raucous celebration on pit road with one of Reddick’s team owners, Basketball Hall of Famer Michael Jordan.

“This is like an NBA playoff game,” Jordan said in Victory Lane. “I’m so ecstatic.”

McDowell, the pole-sitter, dominated the closing laps and was in position to give Ford its much-needed first victory of the year. But his topsy-turvy efforts to block Keselowski — another Ford driver — wound up costing them both.

McDowell spun out, Keselowski had to check up and Reddick sped by to claim his sixth career Cup victory by 0.208 seconds.

A pile of cars behind them was taken out, as well. Corey LaJoie’s No. 7 machine slid across the finish line on its side, pinned against the wall in front the massive grandstands.

Reddick climbed out of his No. 45 car and scurried up the fence like Spider-Man.

“That was crazy, fans,” he screamed. “Chaos. Typical Talladega.”

Keselowski settled for the runner-up spot, failing again to pick up his first win since 2021 at this 2.66-mile trioval in east Alabama.

“We went to make a move and Michael covered it,” Keselowski said. “We went the other way and had nowhere to go when Michael came back down. It’s just the way this stuff goes.”

Reddick’s victory redeemed a botched strategy that knocked out a bunch of Toyota contenders, including his team co-owner, Denny Hamlin.

All three Toyota teams pitted in tandem with 37 laps to go, going with a strategy that would’ve allowed them to push the pace on the rest of the fuel-saving field — with an idea of drafting all the way to the front for the checkered flag.

Unfortunately, they couldn’t keep their cars straight.

Just four laps later, with the Toyota train running at a blistering, single-file pace and chasing down the lead pack, John Hunter Nemechek appeared to get into the bumper of Bubba Wallace’s No. 23 machine, which clipped Erik Jones and sent him smashing hard into the outside wall.

Nemechek then slid down the track and took out Hamlin, as well.

“We had a plan,” Wallace said. “We just didn’t execute it as well as we should have. I hate it. It doesn’t make us look good at all.”

Jones took the brunt of the blow, a crash that would’ve been much worse without the sturdy cars and foamy barriers.

“I’m a little sore, but I’m all right,” Jones said after exiting the infield care center. “If you’re gonna be dumb, you’ve got to be tough.”

Reddick was at the front of the pack and avoided the crash.

In the end, he was able to celebrate an improbable win.

CLEAN RACING: Unlike the wacky finish, the first two stages were caution-free — the first time that’s happened at Talladega since the stage system was instituted in 2017. Many drivers were focused on saving fuel and there weren’t many bold moves.

Finally, on lap 132, with the cars three-wide and tightly bunched in the middle of a huge train, the first occurred.

Justin Haley got a bump from behind and went spinning into Christopher Bell, whose car sustained heavy damage that left him with a last-place finish.

IMPRESSIVE KIWI: Shane Van Gisbergen turned in a strong run in the first oval race of his burgeoning NASCAR Cup career.

The stunning winner of the Chicago street race in his Cup debut last summer, Van Gisbergen showed the depth of his talent by leading laps and staying out of trouble at the harrowing 2.66-mile trioval until the very end.

Unfortunately for the 34-year-old from New Zealand, he got caught up in the final melee and didn’t make it across the line. He finished 27th.

STARTING AT THE BACK: Season points leader Kyle Larson started the race with a huge disadvantage after his team was penalized for altering the roof rails on his No. 5 car on the way to the qualifying line Saturday.

Larson, who had won three straight poles, was barred from qualifying, forced to start from the back of the field and ordered to do a drive-through penalty on the opening lap. He was least a half-lap behind the field by the time he got up to speed and, without anyone to draft with, was caught by the leaders on the 12th lap.

NASCAR also ejected Larson’s car chief, Jesse Saunders, from the speedway.

Larson was able to work his way back into the mix but he wasn’t a contender at the end. He finished 20th.

UP NEXT: The Cup series heads next Sunday to Dover Motor Speedway, where Martin Truex Jr. won the race a year ago.

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Love, 19, claims first Xfinity win in Talladega

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Love, 19, claims first Xfinity win in Talladega

TALLADEGA, Ala. — Nineteen-year-old rookie Jesse Love won the first NASCAR Xfinity Series of his career in a crash-marred, double-overtime finish at Talladega Superspeedway on Saturday.

Love held off Brennan Poole, who pulled alongside roaring into the trioval, and took the checkered flag 0.141 seconds ahead of Riley Herbst. Anthony Alfredo and Leland Honeyman claimed the next two spots, Poole faded to fifth and one last crash sent Joey Gase spinning behind the frontrunners.

“Let’s go playoff racing!” Love screamed over the radio.

Hailie Deegan went into the final restart with a shot at becoming the highest-finishing woman in Xfinity Series history, but she slipped all the way to 12th. Danica Patrick retains the distinction with a fourth-place showing at Las Vegas in 2011.

Pole-sitter Austin Hill — Love’s teammate at Richard Childress Racing — won the first stage, led a race-high 41 laps and was at the front of an 18-car train with two laps to go when the usual Talladega chaos erupted.

Parker Kligerman appeared to give Hill a couple of slight taps to the rear bumper, though Kligerman insisted over his radio that he never touched the leader’s car. Nevertheless, Hill suddenly went into a spin that ended his hopes of his third victory of the season and sent the race to overtime.

Kligerman was out front when the green flag waved, but that didn’t last long. Shane Van Gisbergen appeared to run out of gas and Love got into Kligerman going for lead, sending the the No. 48 car smashing into the wall.

Several other contenders had to duck into the pits for fuel before the second overtime, which extended the race from 113 to 124 laps.

In the end, Love had enough fuel to get to the line, erasing memories of another strong run at Atlanta where he went dry at the end.

Chandler Smith comes in as points leader, but finished 25th.

Early in the final stage, the first big crash of the day collected at least a dozen cars, knocking four of them out of the race.

Kligerman and Ryan Sieg sparked the incident on lap 65, trading paint when both went for an opening in the middle of the track during three-wide racing through the trioval. That slight bump set off a chain-reaction crash that left cars spinning, sliding and smashing into each other from the outer wall to the inside grass.

“You have to be aggressive,” said Brandon Jones, whose car was too damaged to continue. “The only way be aggressive is to get up front.”

The day also ended for Sam Mayer, Jeremy Clements and Ryan Truex, while several cars returned to the track with significant damage. A.J. Allmendinger kept going with with his rear bumper cover barely hanging on.

Mayer has failed to finish four of the first nine races, but he’s locked into the playoff after winning last week at Texas in a photo finish with Sieg.

Teenagers won both preliminary races at Talladega leading up to the NASCAR Cup race on Sunday.

Before Love took the checkered flag, 18-year-old Jake Finch led from start to finish in the ARCA Menards Series event.

Justin Allgaier, who came into Talladega ranked fourth in the point standings, was the first one out of the race.

His No. 7 Chevrolet got loose coming off of turn two while running in a big pack of cars, sliding sideways off the track and smashing hard into an inside wall.

Allgaier wasn’t injured, but the 38th-place finish was by far his worst of the season.

“A disappointing day,” he said. “The car was fast.”

Allgaier remained tied with Kyle Busch for the most top-10 finishes in Xfinity Series history with 266. He equaled the mark last week with a third-place showing at Texas.

It was a tough day for JR Motorsports, which had three of its four drivers — Allgaier, Mayer and Jones — wiped out by crashes. Sammy Smith was the only one to make it to the checkered flag in 21st.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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Ohtani breaks mark for HRs by Japan-born player

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Ohtani breaks mark for HRs by Japan-born player

LOS ANGELES — Dodgers slugger Shohei Ohtani has broken Hideki Matsui’s record for the most homers hit by a Japanese-born player in Major League Baseball.

Ohtani crushed a two-run homer deep into the right-field bleachers off Adrian Houser of the New York Mets in the third inning of L.A.’s 10-0 win Sunday at Dodger Stadium.

The homer was the 176th of Ohtani’s six-plus seasons in the majors. That’s one more than Matsui, who played the final 10 seasons of his 20-year pro career in North America.

Ohtani’s record-breaking blast traveled 423 feet with a 110 mph exit velocity, and it put the Dodgers up 2-0. Ohtani hadn’t homered in his previous seven games.

The homer was his fifth of the season for the Dodgers, who signed the two-time American League MVP to a $700 million contract this past winter. Ohtani hit 171 homers in six seasons with the Los Angeles Angels.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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