WASHINGTON — Thanks to Qatar, hockey fans in the U.S. capital get an extra hour of subway service on the night of Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals between the Washington Capitals and Tampa Bay Lightning.
It costs $100,000 to keep the Metrorail system open for an additional 60 minutes past midnight. Metro eliminated late-night operating hours because of budget constraints.
Hours before the scheduled start of Thursday’s game, which the Lightning won 4-2 to even the series at 2-2, Washington mayor Muriel Bowser tweeted that Qatar and the DowntownDC Business Improvement District are “doing it again to deliver late night Metro service to Caps fans.”
The Qatar Embassy also touted the arrangement, saying via Twitter: “We believe in bringing communities closer together through sports.”
Qatar has mounted an aggressive and well-funded campaign to rehabilitate its image in the U.S. since President Donald Trump chided the country last year for funding terrorism. Qatar’s ruling emir visited the White House last month.
Jack Evans, the chairman of Metro’s board of directors and a D.C. council member, said the Capitals declined to pay to keep the subway system open in the event of an overtime game.