Monumental Sports & Entertainment (MSE) unveiled District E Powered by Ticketmaster, a nearly 14,000-square-foot live-event theater adjacent to Capital One Arena at Gallery Place in downtown Washington D.C., promising immersive experiences in esports, music, event programming and community events.
It’s an ambitious agenda, to be sure, including both original programming as well as pre- and post-event activations for fans attending Capitals and Wizards games or events. The goal is programming 365 days a year; besides the sports and eSports events, MSE plans on offering space for independent events while also offering a higher-level culinary experience.
The venue will also create a competition and training venue for the MSE esports franchises which it owns, operates, and invests in, including Wizards District Gaming and Caps Gaming (centered in the MedStar Wizards District Gaming Studio) as well as serving as a catalyst to foster the amateur gaming community in the D.C. metro region. Additionally, it will establish an East Coast satellite office for global esports powerhouse Team Liquid. Further, it will attract the growing influencer streaming community through its state-of-the-art streaming pods.
“We are excited to invest in this first-of-its-kind venue for esports and other immersive experiences and know it will quickly become the preferred destination for pre- and post-event attendees with one-of-a-kind programming and food and beverage offerings,” said Zach Leonsis, President of Media & New Enterprises, via press release. “And given the rapid rise in the popularity of esports and the growing audience for gaming in general, we believe the time is right to build an esports-centric venue that serves as a rallying point for the gaming community in the Mid-Atlantic. The wide-scale, international appeal of esports brands is well documented. We believe that developing deep, grassroots-level connections within our local community is the natural next step for esports as the genre develops into a major league aside other traditional sports.”
Centrally located in the historic Chinatown neighborhood of downtown Washington D.C., District E will be located adjacent to Capital One Arena, home of the NBA’s Washington Wizards and NHL’s Washington Capitals. With more than 3 million annual attendees coming to Capital One Arena for professional sporting events, live concerts, and other performances, District E, will also plan to host Capitals, Wizards, and other fans for pre- and post-game events to enhance the game-day experience. Also on the agenda: additional programming including its own shows, viewing parties, corporate events, and other programs driving additional visitors downtown.
District E is an extension of MSE’s activity in the esports space: the firm was an early investor in esports and has rapidly grown its esports portfolio over the past several years. Starting with an initial investment in esports ownership group, aXiomatic, in 2016. MSE has since expanded its efforts in esports to include the NBA 2K League’s Wizards District Gaming, a franchise that just won back-to-back NBA 2K League championships, and Caps Gaming, a leading esports sub-brand in the NHL. Through its equity ownership in aXiomatic, MSE also owns equity in Team Liquid, Epic Games, Niantic, Dapper Labs and Nifty Games, among other gaming investments. MSE’s Chairman, Founder and CEO Ted Leonsis represents Monumental Sports on the board of aXiomatic and Zach Leonsis, represents Monumental Sports on the board of Team Liquid. Zach Leonsis also sits on the Executive Committee of the NBA 2K League.
“MSE has been an incredible partner to Team Liquid over the years and the development of District E is an initiative that I believe truly elevates the fan experience and helps connect us with more fans than ever before,” said Steve Arhancet, Co-CEO and Owner of Team Liquid, via press release. “Having lived in the DMV for a number of years, it’s an honor for me to reconnect with the local community and I am looking forward to working alongside and supporting our local organizations, universities and athletes to bring together fans across Northern Virginia, Maryland and D.C. by providing them with a genuine and unique esports experience.”
“The team at Monumental is always on the cutting-edge, adopting the latest technology and setting trends for live event experiences,” said Marla Ostroff, Ticketmaster Managing Director – North America, via press release. “District E Powered by Ticketmaster is an innovative and exciting concept that explores a whole new realm of live entertainment experiences. We look forward to continuing our partnership with Monumental in bringing District E to life.”
The design of District E is intentionally welcoming, inviting passersby to peer into the gaming venue and learn more about the energy and enthusiasm of esports. Three of the main components of the space include:
- an Esports Competition Studio: a public-facing, 150+ person venue expected to host over 200 events per year;
- An enhanced Food and Beverage Experience, with MSE partnering with Aramark to operate a restaurant and bar experience that will support events hosted throughout the year; and
- Esports Practice Center, a private team practice facility, officially “MedStar Wizards District Gaming Studio,” with streaming pods for Wizards District Gaming, Caps Gaming, Team Liquid and more.
“We are honored to expand our partnership with Monumental Sports & Entertainment by developing a first-class hospitality experience for fans to enjoy at District E Powered by Ticketmaster,” said Alison Birdwell, President and CEO of Aramark Sports and Entertainment, via press statement. “As Aramark’s first foray into the rapidly-growing esports space, this is an exciting opportunity to showcase our expertise in food and beverage innovation to esports fans while also creating jobs and further building Aramark’s presence in the Greater Washington Metropolitan region.”
District E will sport a modern, technology-forward and cutting-edge design, with esports and traditional sports iconography adorning the broad sweeps of open space across the pavilion. More than 1,000 square feet of LED lights and bars hug the ceilings, and large, crisp screens hang along the walls of the food and beverage experience as well as the competition studio and training facility.
“At this size and scale, District E Powered by Ticketmaster will be the first-of-its-kind in the D.C. region and a gamechanger,” said JLL’s Zach Boroson via press release . “The real estate market rebound has shown that we will see innovative and alternative uses for both office and retail spaces across the city and the new District E Powered by Ticketmaster is exactly that. By activating these spaces in such a unique and forward-thinking way, Monumental Sports & Entertainment is truly solidifying its leadership in the esports industry.”
Fall 2022 is the planned opening date. Architecture, Incorporated is responsible for architecture and interiors, construction is led by KBR Corporation, and the property is owned and managed by Oxford Properties Group. Monumental Sports was represented by Zach Boroson and Andy O’Brien of JLL. Creative agency 4040 Agency designed the brand and logo for the enterprise.
Renderings courtesy Monumental Sports and Entertainment.