Monumental Sports plans esports venue in Washington, D.C.

by Adam Fitch  · 
Updated
Monumental Sports plans esports venue in Washington, D.C.

Monumental Sports & Entertainment, the ownership group behind several major sports franchises, is the latest to announce plans for an esports venue.

The background: While MSE is best known for housing multiple sports franchises in North America, it's been involved in esports for years.

  • The company, led by businessman Ted Leonsis, owns and operates sports franchises based in Washington, D.C., as well as multiple entertainment venues.
  • Its portfolio includes NHL team Washington Capitals and basketball teams Capital City Go-Go, Washington Mystics, and Washington Wizards.
  • On the esports front, it operates Wizards Distract Gaming in the NBA 2K League and NHL gaming brand Caps Gaming. MSE also invested in major esports organization Team Liquid in 2016.

The venue: While largely marketed as an esports venue, it's clear that the space will be multi-purpose.

  • No open date was announced by MSE, though SBJ reports it's expected to open in Q3 of 2022.
  • It's named 'District E Powered by Ticketmaster' and is planned as a 14,000-square-foot venue that'll be adjacent to the Capital One Arena in downtown Washington, D.C.
  • It will house events to engage fans of the Capitals and the Wizards, and will host live music, community and corporate events, and other general entertainment activities.
  • The venue will house its esports properties, including serving as an east coast office for Team Liquid (which is already headquartered in both Los Angeles and the Netherlands).
  • Specifically, District E will have a public-facing esports studio that will host an estimated 150 people, an area for food and beverages, and the aforementioned esports center for its several gaming brands.

The wider scope: This is far from the first large-scale esports venue to be planned.

  • From small venues owned by Belong Gaming Arenas to the halted Fusion Arena in Philadelphia, gaming-focused venues have become commonplace in recent years.
  • While they're framed as being esports-first, it's typically explained deep in press releases that many planned venues are actually general-purpose but will simply also accept large competitive gaming events.
  • Having District E serve as a base of operations and practice for MSE's portfolio teams makes sense, but it doesn't mean the venue will be akin to what people generally expect from a sports venue. Esports audiences are far from rivalling those seen in major sports, especially in the United States, hence the need to host all types of events.