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DC’s Newest Sports Complex Will Open September 22 in Congress Heights

Mary J. Blige and Cage the Elephant will play the $65 million Entertainment and Sports Arena this fall.
A rendering of the Entertainment and Sports Arena. Photograph courtesy of Events DC.

Opening on September 22, the Entertainment and Sports Arena (ESA) will be the practice facility for the Washington Wizards and the home court for both the Washington Mystics and the NBA G-league team Capital City Go-Go. The 4,200-seat venue is located in the former St. Elizabeths Hospital campus, right near the Congress Heights metro station. Grammy-winner Mary J. Blige and indie rock band Cage the Elephant have been announced in the arena’s concert lineup, with Blige performing on October 6 and Cage the Elephant on October 13.

There’s already sports buzz about upcoming ESA events and tournaments. In August, the mixed-martial-arts Professional Fighters League announced that its semifinals will be held at the ESA in October. The arena will also host the eSports Red Bull Conquest finals in November and the Colonial Athletic Association‘s men’s basketball tournaments from 2020-2022. The ESA is officially owned by the city, and DC’s sports/convention organization Events DC will manage the $65 million arena. It won’t just be for video game tournaments or MMA: in addition to Blige and Cage the Elephant, the arena will host concerts and other entertainment events as well. Ted Leonsis‘s Monumental Sports has also been involved in funding, and is investing $10 million into the arena and its community. The ESA is expected to offer 300 permanent jobs and hire locally.

The ESA ribbon cutting will be on September 22 at 10:30 AM. Tickets for Mary J. Blige’s October 6 performance and Cage the Elephant’s October 13 performance will be on sale on September 14 on Ticketmaster.

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Rosa joined Washingtonian as an editorial fellow in fall 2016. She likes to write about race, culture, music, and politics. She graduated from Mount Holyoke College with a degree in International Relations and French with a minor in Journalism. When she can, she performs with her family’s Puerto Rican folkloric music ensemble based in Jersey City. She lives in Adams Morgan.