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Monumental S&E unveils plans for massive esports center

By Bret McCormick

Monumental Sports & Entertainment today is announcing its plans for District E Powered by Ticketmaster, a 14,000-square foot live-event theater and gaming center focused on esports and located adjacent to Capital One Arena. MSE is taking over two former restaurant spaces, amounting to almost the entire first floor of the Gallery Place mixed-use mall. The redesigned venue is expected to open in the fall. “It felt like it was the right time to build a brick and mortar (esports) gathering space for the Mid-Atlantic, and Washington, D.C., specifically,” said MSE President of Media & New Enterprises Zach Leonsis. “It’s a long time coming.” Leonsis said the project, which commenced in early '21, involves a seven-figure buildout, with millions of dollars spent on LED and audio-visual systems alone. Architecture, Incorporated is designing the space and its interiors, KBR Construction is the contractor, and Oxford Properties Group owns and manages the property.

PERFECT PARTNERS: MSE is operating the facility in its entirety and has a long-term lease for the space. Ticketmaster is serving as presenting partner and Aramark is an operating partner in the F&B portion of the business, its first foray into esports. “Both of them instantly got what we’re trying to do,” said Leonsis, “and to be a part of something different from what they’re used to working on"

IT'S IN THE GAME: District E’s three main components include a public-facing, 150-plus-person esports competition studio expected to host over 200 events per year and serve as a regional hub for grassroots esports; a food and beverage experience; and a private esports practice center, with streaming pods, for Wizards District Gaming, Caps Gaming, Team Liquid and other entities. Team Liquid, a multinational esports team with roughly 100 athletes competing across 15 games, will establish a satellite office at District E, as well.

MONUMENTAL ESPORTS PLAY: MSE first invested in esports in '16. It owns an NBA 2K League franchise and Caps Gaming, and has equity in Team Liquid, Epic Games, Niantic, Dapper Labs and Nifty Games. Leonsis sits on the Team Liquid board of directors and the NBA 2K League Executive Committee. District E is also expected to connect with the arena’s sports and entertainment events through affiliated pre- and post-game programming.

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