Mar 28, 2023 - Sports

Downtown D.C.'s new pro gaming venue

The entrance to District E at Gallery Place.

The entrance to District E. Photo: Paige Hopkins/Axios

Downtown D.C. just added a new entertainment venue, District E, geared toward esports.

Why it matters: District E is one of just a few public-facing gaming venues in the country where fans can watch their favorite pro gamers IRL.

  • Officials at Monumental Sports, which owns, operates or invests in the teams housed in the space, see it as a part of downtown’s revitalization, and an attraction for tourists and locals that will rival other sports bars in the neighborhood.

Catch up quick: Esports fans typically watch top gamers play on online streams. Dedicated spaces to watch in person can be harder to find.

There are a variety of gaming leagues. District E will house Wizards District gaming, a team of pro NBA 2K players, and Caps Gaming, a team of pro NHL gamers. Team Liquid, a global esports league that plays several games, will also use the space as its East Coast office.

Between the lines: NBA 2k League president Brendan Donohue says all you need is a basic understanding of basketball to enjoy watching the in-person, high-energy 2K games.

  • Plus, the Wizards’ 2K team is one of the best – they’re two-time league champions.
A practice facility at District E.
A practice area for Wizards District gaming. Photo: Paige Hopkins/Axios

💭 Chelsea’s thought bubble: Like any sport, this type of gaming is all about strategy, decision-making, and competition—which means that even if you’re not a gamer yourself, it’s thrilling to watch.

Details: The roughly 14,000-square-foot space is next door to Capital One Arena at Gallery Place downtown. It’ll house practice facilities for the teams and host various league tournaments that fans can watch in person.

  • It’ll also host other non-esports events like smaller shows by up-and-coming musicians and comedians.

District Bites, the venue’s bar and restaurant, will be open during District E events and also in conjunction with Capital One Arena events.

Bar and restaurants District Bites.
A look at District Bites. Photo: Paige Hopkins/Axios

Zoom out: Washington Justice, D.C.’s pro Overwatch team, also has a facility where fans can watch during the season, though it fits fewer fans than District E.

The big picture: Esports was one of the hottest and most frequently funded sectors in gaming for several years going into the pandemic, but now its investment buzz is fading, Axios’ Stephen Totilo writes.

  • Concerns over profits have sent investment firms elsewhere, particularly to crypto-based Web3 gaming startups.

What’s next: The NBA 2K League will host its 2023 season at District E and the SLAM Open semifinals on Wednesday. Tickets start at $10.


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