Capital Centre

The Capital Centre was an indoor arena located in Landover, Maryland,unincorporated Prince George's County, Maryland; a suburb of Washington, D.C. Completed in 1973, the arena sat 18,756 for basketball and 18,130 for hockey.

In 1993, the air carrier USAir purchased the naming rights for the building and the arena became known as USAir Arena. After the airline rebranded itself in 1996, the name changed to US Airways Arena. The arena reverted to its original name of Capital Centre after the airline dropped its naming rights and its primary tenants moved to the MCI Center in downtown Washington. Most TV and Radio crews broadcasting from the venue referred to it by its nickname "Cap Centre". The venue's name is also sometimes misspelled as Capital Center, Capitol Center, Capitol Center Arena or Capital Center Arena. The venue was demolished in 2002.

As a sports venue

The arena was the home of the Washington Bullets of the NBA from 1973–97, the Washington Capitals of the NHL from 1974–97 and the Georgetown Hoyas men's basketball team from 1981–97. The Washington Wizards were known as the Bullets until 1997, and played the first 5 games of the 1997–98 NBA season at the old arena. All three teams departed for the MCI Center (now Verizon Center) just north of The Mall in D.C. when it opened on December 2, 1997. The Capital Centre hosted its first NBA game exactly 24 years earlier on December 2, 1973, with the home team defeating the same visiting team, the Seattle SuperSonics. During November 1973, the Capital Bullets held their home games at nearby Cole Field House on the campus of the University of Maryland in College Park.

The arena hosted games of the NBA Finals in 1975 when the Bullets played the Golden State Warriors and again in 1978 and 1979 vs. the Seattle SuperSonics.

The ACC men's basketball tournament was held there in 1976, 1981, and 1987. The 1980 NBA All-Star Game and 1982 NHL All-Star Game were held there, as was the WWF's Survivor Series 1995.

The arena also was home to a few epic NHL Playoff games, including the 1987 Easter Epic.

The Washington/Maryland Commandos of the Arena Football League also called the arena home from 1987 to 1990. The Maryland Arrows, Washington Wave and Washington Power lacrosse teams used the arena, as did The Washington Warthogs professional indoor soccer team.

A boxing World Heavyweight Championship bout took place at the venue on April 30, 1976, with Jimmy Young challenging the champion Muhammad Ali. The fight went the full fifteen rounds and was awarded unanimously to Ali.

Footage of past Washington Bullets games held at the Capital Centre were used in the 1979 comedy film The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh.

As a concert venue

The arena has hosted many concerts, by famous artists, spanning many different genres.

The arena was home to several Toys for Tots concerts in the late 70's and early 80's.

The last time that Frank Sinatra & Dean Martin sang in concert together was at the arena.

The arena was outfitted with a sophisticated in-house video system, technology not yet common in most 1970s-era arenas. As a result, a number of videos and concert recordings, many of them bootlegged, have been released over the years.

The first two volumes of KISS' retrospective DVD series Kissology included bonus discs of late-1970s shows videotaped at the arena.

Concert videos by Van Halen (a popular bootleg recorded on October 12, 1982) and Blue Öyster Cult (a 1978 show on the Some Enchanted Evening Legacy Edition CD) from the arena have also been released.

AC/DC played two shows at the arena on December 20-21, 1981, several tracks from these shows are included in their DVD set, Plug Me In.

A recording of The New Barbarians' concert on May 5, 1979, during the band's only concert tour ever, was released as Buried Alive: Live in Maryland.

The Rolling Stones played three sold-out shows at the arena on December 7-9, 1981. Their 1982 live album "Still Life" (American Concert 1981), included three songs taken from the Largo concerts, "Let Me Go" (December 8), "Twenty Flight Rock" and "Going to a Go-Go" (December 9).

The cult video documentary short Heavy Metal Parking Lot was shot by Jeff Krulik and John Heyn on May 31, 1986, in the arena's parking lot, comically documenting thousands of heavy metal fans as they partied before a Judas Priest concert (with special guests Dokken). (The parking lot itself was divided into four sections, with patriotic emblems, to aid patrons in remembering where they parked after an event: Liberty Bell, Capitol, Eagle and Stars and Stripes.)

The Grateful Dead's live CD set Terrapin Limited was recorded on March 15, 1990 at the arena.

The Smashing Pumpkins played their last concert, with late touring keyboardist Jonathan Melvoin, at the arena.

The arena also hosted family friendly events, such as the Harlem Globetrotters, Circus America and Ice Capades, as well as numerous graduation ceremonies for high schools in Prince George's County.

Due to their overwhelming popularity in the African-American sections of Maryland and Washington D.C., Parliament-Funkadelic performed numerous sold out shows at the venue.


The arena was imploded on December 15, 2002, to make way for The Boulevard at the Capital Centre, a town center-style shopping mall that opened in 2003.


The Capital Centre was the first indoor arena to have a video replay screen on its center-hung scoreboard. The four-sided video screen was known as the "Telscreen" (or "Telescreen") and predated the DiamondVision video screen at Dodger Stadium by seven years. It was also the first arena to be built with luxury boxes and a computerized turnstile system.

The Centre also had one of the NBA's most notorious fans, Robin Ficker, who for twelve seasons sat behind the visiting team's bench and heckled opposing players.

Capital Centre had the loudest speakers in an arena.


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