Capital Gains: Scoring Big with Washington, D.C.’s Sports Teams

Washington, D.C. is the center of U.S. politics, but there’s no debate whether D.C. sports teams rule the nation’s capital. Fans from across the DMV — Washington, D.C, Maryland and Virginia — join together for year-round sports events in Washington, D.C.

The state of the Capital City sports legacy is strong, with championship runs in both basketball and football between the ’70s and early ’90s, and three titles in hockey, baseball and women’s basketball within 18 months in 2018 and 2019.

Check out the full guide to the Washington, D.C. sports teams below.

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Major League / Professional Sports in Washington, D.C.


Washington Commanders

Washington Commanders

The Washington Commanders are the oldest continuously active professional sports team based in the Washington, D.C. metro area. The team has appeared in five Super Bowls and captured three, during a dominant run between 1982 and 1991 under Hall of Fame head coach Joe Gibbs. Playing both sides of the Potomac River, the Washington Commanders compete at Commanders Field in Landover, Maryland and hold training camp in Virginia.

Washington’s historical feud with the Dallas Cowboys is considered one of the NFL’s most heated rivalries, but the Commanders also bring a special firepower to games against NFC East rivals the Philadelphia Eagles and New York Giants. Get Commanders Field tickets and Washington Commanders tickets at Ticketmaster.


Washington Wizards

Washington Wizards

Previously based in Baltimore, the Washington Wizards relocated to the Nation’s Capital in 1973 and appeared in their first Finals two years later. In 1978, Washington won the NBA championship behind Hall of Fame players Wes Unseld and Elvin Hayes, then returned in 1979 for an unsuccessful title defense. In the 21st century so far, the Wizards roster has boasted Hall of Fame players Michael Jordan, Mitch Richmond and Paul Pierce as well as All-Stars John Wall, Bradley Beal, Russell Westbrook and more.

Tipping off at Capital One Arena in downtown D.C. since 1997, Wizards home games have a way of enchanting fans, especially on rivalry nights against the Atlanta Hawks, Charlotte Hornets, Orlando Magic and Miami HEAT. Get Capital One Arena tickets and Washington Wizards tickets at Ticketmaster.


Washington Nationals

Washington Nationals

  • League: MLB
  • Division: NL East
  • Founded: 2005
  • Home Arena: Nationals Park

In 2005, the Washington Nationals brought baseball back to the District for the first time in over three decades. Although professional baseball clubs in Washington, D.C. date back to the 1870s, of whom the team tips a cap via name, logo and uniforms, the Nationals have forged their own legacy in only a short matter of time.

In 2008, the team moved to Nationals Park, a new waterfront fixture in the city’s Navy Yard neighborhood and collected four division titles between 2012 and 2017. Finally, in one of the most thrilling postseason runs in the history of Washington, D.C. professional sports teams, the Nats won the World Series in 2019 following a wild card entrance and unprecedented five-game win streak when facing elimination.

Locally, fans will pack Nationals Park for the annual Beltway Series against the Baltimore Orioles as well as rivalry series with the Philadelphia Phillies, Atlanta Braves and New York Mets. Get Nationals Park tickets and Washington Nationals tickets at Ticketmaster.

Ice Hockey

Washington Capitals

Washington Capitals

The Capitals have taken the Red, White and Blue to the ice since 1974 when the franchise joined the NHL as an expansion team. Following peaks in the ’80s and ’90s, the Caps entered a new era in the mid-aughts with the acquisitions of Alexander Ovechkin and Nicklas Bäckström, who guided the team to three Presidents’ Trophies and 15 postseason appearances.

In 2018, the Washington Capitals earned the city of Washington, D.C. its first professional sports title in 14 years with the franchise’s first Stanley Cup victory. The Capitals’ matches against the Pittsburgh Penguins have become one of the NHL’s most storied rivalries. Get Capital One Arena tickets and Washington Capitals tickets at Ticketmaster.


D.C. United

  • League: MLS
  • Conference: Eastern
  • Founded: 1996
  • Home Arena: Audi Field

The D.C. United are one of the most decorated teams in Major League Soccer, and arguably of all D.C. sports teams. Since joining the MLS in its inaugural season, the United have won four MLS Cup championships, claiming the league’s first two in 1996 and 1997, then returning to the top in 1999 and 2004. The Black-and-Red have also earned the Supporters’ Shield four times, in 1997, 1999, 2006 and 2007, and won the U.S. Open Cup three times, in 1996, 2008 and 2013.

Outside of the MLS, D.C. United have pushed Washington soccer into international prominence by winning titles in both the CONCACAF Champions Cup and Copa Interamericana. D.C. United have a longtime rivalry with the Los Angeles Galaxy, the only MLS team with more MLS Cup wins, as well as the New York Red Bulls, New England Revolution and Philadelphia Union. The club competes at Audi Field, which opened as the home pitch of D.C. United in 2018. Get Audi Field tickets and D.C. United tickets at Ticketmaster.

Collegiate Sports & Other Professional Teams in Washington, D.C.

The WNBA’s Washington Mystics play at Entertainment and Sports Arena in Washington, D.C. The team has played in the District since 1998 and was the second of three Washington, D.C.-based teams to claim a championship in rapid succession, after the Capitals hoisted the Stanley Cup in 2018 and weeks before the Nationals won the World Series in 2019.

Along with D.C. United, Audi Field also hosts the NWSL’s Washington Spirit and the UFL’s DC Defenders. The women’s professional soccer team won the NWSL Championship in 2021.

The Washington Wizards share home court at Capital One Arena with the Georgetown University Hoyas men’s basketball team. Georgetown won the men’s NCAA March Madness tournament in 1984 and has produced Hall of Fame talents such as Patrick Ewing, Allen Iverson and Dikembe Mutombo.

American University, George Washington University and Howard University also consider the District home, while Division I sports programs at the University of Maryland, George Mason University and Mount St. Mary’s University invite local fandom.

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