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Wizards, Capitals Owner To Open Esports Center Next To Capital One Arena

A view of the event space within Monumental Sports & Entertainment's District E Powered by Ticketmaster property.

The organization that owns the Washington Wizards, Capitals, Mystics and more is expanding its entertainment footprint with an esports venue next door to its arena.

Monumental Sports & Entertainment announced plans to open a 14K SF venue called District E Powered by Ticketmaster, at Gallery Place in Chinatown, next to Capital One Arena.

District E is set to include public-facing amenities like an esports competition studio and an Aramark-operated restaurant and bar, as well as a private practice facility dubbed the MedStar Wizards District Gaming Studio.

MSE, controlled by Ted Leonsis, has a stake in esports ownership group aXiomatic, international esports giant Team Liquid and other esports companies, in addition to fielding esports teams affiliated with the Wizards and Capitals.

"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," Zach Leonsis, president of media and new enterprises at MSE, said in a statement.

MSE plans to open the space in the fall of this year. Oxford Properties Group owns and manages the mixed-use Gallery Place property. Zach Boroson and Andy O'Brien of JLL represented MSE in the deal.

In response to emailed questions, Anu Rangappa, senior vice president of communications and social impact at MSE, said the new space is "an investment of several million dollars and a multi-year term lease." 

Rangappa said District E will "bring another layer of great experiences to fans of the Capitals and Wizards and concert goers" through pre- and post-event activations in the new space.

In addition to bringing the Stanley Cup to D.C. for the first time, MSE has made significant investments in the East End since Leonsis became the majority owner of the Wizards, Capitals and Capital One Arena, then Verizon Center, in 2010. 

Leonsis secured a name change to the former Verizon Center in a 10-year, $100M deal with Capital One in 2017. The next year, MSE embarked on a $40M renovation of Capital One Arena to modernize its interior.

MSE is also responsible for bringing the Mystics to Entertainment and Sports Arena on the St. Elizabeths East campus in 2018. The 4,200-seat arena, which is owned by the District and operated by Events DC, is also the home of the Capital City Go-Go and the practice facility for the Wizards.