Washington, DC is about to open a new sports facility, as the Entertainment and Sports Arena will have its ribbon-cutting ceremony later this month.
Planned as part of a $65 million redevelopment of the former St. Elizabeths Hospital’s east campus, the venue will serve multiple purposes. Both the Washington Mystics (WNBA) and upstart Capital City Go-Go (NBA Gatorade League) will use the 4,200-seat Entertainment and Sports Arena for games, while the project will also yield an adjacent practice facility for the NBA’s Wizards.
The opening of the facility is drawing closer, as a ribbon-cutting ceremony is scheduled for Saturday, September 22. Leading up to its opening, area officials–including DC mayor Muriel Bowser–are touting the Entertainment and Sports Arena for both its amenities as a facility, and its role in a larger redevelopment initiative. More from the Washington Post:
The vision behind the project — a collaboration among Events DC, the city’s convention center and sports agency; the city; and Monumental Sports & Entertainment ownership group — is twofold:
● Serve as a catalyst for development in historically underserved Ward 8, in similar fashion that Nationals Park and Capital One Arena did in their respective neighborhoods over the decade that followed their openings.
● Represent one more credential in what has been a decade-long quest to establish Washington, both nationally and globally, as a “sports city.” Not only home to the Mystics, the arena will also host a new NBA G League affiliate, the Capital City Go-Go, as well as esports events. A practice facility for the Wizards is being built next door, with locker rooms and training rooms for each basketball team connecting the two.
“We hold ourselves up against any major city in the world,” Bowser explained during a walk-through of the arena earlier this week. “That’s why we have invested in the arts. We’ve invested in our food scene, cultural scene, nightlife scene, music and entertainment. Sport is part of that; we know it can help our bottom line by attracting people to our city, but it also has a big impact when we’re winning on our collective psyche.”
Along with the arena, the full development project will also include office, residential, and retail space. The facility’s first major event will be a Mary J. Blige concert on October 6.