Verizon Center, Washington, D.C.

Monumental Sports & Entertainment, owner and operator of Washington, D.C.’s Verizon Center and rideshare company Lyft have announced a partnership making Lyft the first official rideshare partner of the venue.

The Verizon Center is home to the National Basketball Association's Washington Wizards, National Hockey League's Washington Capitals and WNBA's Washington Mystics.

“We had been exploring various partners in the ride sharing space, talking to all the players, but Lyft was already attacking the marketplace heavily,” said Patrick Duffy, Monumental Sports & Entertainment’s senior vice president of corporate partnerships. “The resources the company brought to the table were unique in that Lyft is a solutions provider with plans for growing the business in D.C.”

The partnership, which took about three months to finalize, is effective for six months. Financial details of the arrangement were not disclosed.

Under this agreement, central pick-up and drop-off locations will be defined around the Verizon Center to provide easy access for transportation to and from the arena. Monumental Sports and Lyft are currently working together to identify three to four designated pickup spots within a block of the venue.

“The Verizon Center was our number one venue for drop-offs in 2015, and as we enter 2016, this has continued, so it was a natural fit,” said Stephen Taylor, Lyft’s Washington, D.C. general manager. “We wanted to partner with Monumental Sports as a way of providing benefits to our existing users while attracting new users.”

In addition to increasing its brand awareness and activations and converting casual users into avid users, the partnership is part of Lyft’s larger initiative to help in Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser's efforts to increase pedestrian safety and eliminate drunk-driving-related fatalities within the city.

“This partnership aligns with Vision Zero, a national program taking hold in D.C. and other cities aimed at reducing the number of fatalities within the transportation system,” said Taylor.

The companies also have joined forces for an on-site marketing campaign geared to generate awareness for fans about Lyft’s ride sharing service. This includes a number of ‘enter to win’ promotions, traditional LED and video endorsements and website integration.

“We’re already seeing an increase in rides going to and from the venue as well as a large number of activations, with people downloading the Lyft app for the first time while at the Verizon Center,” said Taylor.

Lyft also will receive various experiential and concourse tabling opportunities during games at Verizon Center. Brand ambassadors will be stationed at the venue as a part of this effort.

“We want to make transportation to the Verizon Center as simple as possible, and we’re doing what we can to educate fans about easy alternatives,” said Duffy. “Lyft has aspirations to grow in the marketplace, and we look forward to helping them achieve this goal.”

Founded in 2012, San Francisco-based Lyft operates in approximately 200 cities.

Interviewed for this article:  Patrick Duffy, (202) 628-3200; Stephen Taylor, (415) 509-4260