On October 1, 1997, Washington, D.C., was selected as a potential city for a WNBA expansion team. D.C. was already home to the NBA's Washington Wizards, the National Hockey League's Washington Capitals, and the brand new state-of-the-art MCI Center. In order for D.C. to receive its WNBA team, it had to meet the league-imposed season ticket sales criterium of 3,000. By late September, Washington Sports and Entertainment, which operates the Wizards and the Capitals, had announced that it already had more than 5,000 season tickets sold. On December 16, 1997, Washington Sports and Entertainment Chairman Abe Pollin announced the name of his WNBA team, The Mystics. The Mystic's name follows the theme of the NBA's team name, The Wizards. The Mystics were officially accepted into the league on November 11 and had already built a strong fan base, selling almost 6,000 season-ticket packages in the first two months. With everything in place, the Mystics named former George Mason University Coach Jim Lewis as their first head coach.
The schedule for the Mystics' inaugural season was announced on January 15, 1998 and included three nationally televised games. A week later, the Mystics signed their first two players, Nikki McCray and Alessandra Santo de Oliveira. The Mystics' big opening game night was six months later on June 19 against the Utah Starzz. The Mystics' claimed their first victory and set a WNBA attendance record with 20,675 people.
The Mystics' key public is their fans, and that same season, the Mystics recorded two more sellout crowds, averaging 16,000 fans per game. They continued with tremendous fan support, and in 1999, they were crowned the WNBA Attendance Champions for the second year in a row. Since the Mystics have had such rapid success, it seems their communication efforts are on track.