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Mayor Bowser & Events DC Announce Grand Opening for DC's Newest Entertainment & Sports Arena

September 12, 2018

Mayor Bowser and Events DC Announce Grand Opening and Lineup for DC’s Newest Entertainment and Sports Arena in Congress Heights

4,200-Seat Venue Launches with Blockbuster Lineup Including Grammy Award winner Mary J. Blige and Cage The Elephant

Washington, DC – September 12, 2018 – Mayor Bowser in collaboration with Events DC, the official convention and sports authority for the District of Columbia, announce the opening events that celebrate the much-anticipated Entertainment and Sports Arena (ESA). The 4,200-seat venue will be a hub for entertainment, sporting events, esports and more. The Arena will also serve as the practice facility for the NBA Washington Wizards and home court of the WNBA Washington Mystics and new NBA G-League team, the Capital City Go-Go.

“On September 22, we celebrate not just the opening of a state-of-the-art sports and entertainment facility, but the promise and opportunity that this project brings to the St. Elizabeths East campus,” said Mayor Bowser. “The Entertainment and Sports Arena is the home our Mystics deserve. But it’s even more than that – this project is bigger than basketball. The ESA is about jobs, opportunity, and community; it’s about ensuring that every neighborhood, in every corner of our city has world-class housing and amenities.”

The Entertainment and Sports Arena Grand Opening Celebration will kick off with the following events:

Saturday, September 22, 10:30 am – Ribbon Cutting: The official opening of the venue. Officials from the city including Mayor Muriel Bowser, Deputy Mayor Brian Kenner, Max Brown, Chairman of the Board of Directors and Gregory A. O’Dell, president and chief executive officer at Events DC, majority owner, Chairman and CEO of Monumental Sports, Ted Leonsis and local DC athletes and artists. The event will celebrate the opening of the Arena’s doors to more diverse entertainment options and will ignite future economic development in the Congress Heights neighborhood of DC.

After two years in the making, Events DC couldn’t be more excited to mark the opening of the new Entertainment and Sports Arena.  This 4,200-seat arena will be a catalyst for growth in the Congress Heights community – far beyond the walls of the building” said Max Brown, Chairman of the Board of Directors at Events DC.  “This arena will be the perfect venue for intimate concerts, exciting entertainment events, and important civic and community activities.  The Arena is in the heart of one of DC’s most important communities-Congress Heights-and will create a much-needed economic boost and significant expansion of sports and entertainment to a new corner of the city for residents and visitors to enjoy. We all thank Mayor Bowser for her vision in making this all a reality.”

Saturday, October 6 – Mary J. Blige (with Jacob Banks): The concert will be headlined by Grammy award winning and 2018 double Oscar nominee, Superstar Mary J. Blige, featuring critically-acclaimed, multi-genre singer/songwriter, Jacob Banks. Tickets will be available to purchase on Ticketmaster on Friday, September 14 at 10:00 am. Doors will open on Saturday, October 6 at 7:00 pm, with the show at 8:00 pm.

Saturday, October 13 – Cage the Elephant (with Judah & The Lion): Known for their energetic live performances and eclectic sound, Cage the Elephant is a Grammy award winning American rock band. The show will also feature, Judah & the Lion, an American band that blends hip-hop and folk music. Tickets will be available to purchase on Ticketmaster on Friday, September 14 at 10:00 a.m. Doors will open on Saturday, October 13 at 7:00 p.m., with the show at 8:00 p.m.

“We are proud to celebrate the opening of the Entertainment and Sports Arena. Similar to some of our other venues, like, the Walter E., Washington Convention Center and Nationals Park, this Arena is important not only for the attraction of new events and experiences to the city, but for DC’s greater economic development and job creation,” said Gregory A. O’Dell, president and chief executive officer of Events DC. “We look forward to delivering unmatched event programming from esports and boxing to amateur sports and electrifying concerts – starting with our grand opening celebration blockbuster lineup!”

Tickets for the Mary J. Blige and Cage the Elephant concerts will go on sale to the general public on Friday, September 14 at 10:00 am on Ticketmaster.


About The Entertainment and Sports Arena
A project deemed as “Bigger than Basketball,” the Entertainment and Sports Arena, is a 4,200-seat, 120,000-square-foot arena located in Congress Heights of Washington, DC The venue will establish a premier entertainment destination within Ward 8 that will open doors to more diverse programming options in the District. It will also attract cultural and community-based events, giving residents and visitors the opportunity to enjoy the rich diversity of the DC in a brand-new space.

Located on the former site of the St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Congress Heights in Ward 8, Entertainment and Sports Arena is projected to produce $90 million in new tax revenue over 20 years, attract more than 380,000 annual visitors per year to the Congress Heights neighborhood.

In collaboration with Smoot/Gilbane Sports, the project honors opportunities for local businesses and District residents to bring much-needed economic and civic benefits to the local community, with nearly half of the project’s hires living in Wards 7 or 8. The project has also exceeded its initial Certified Business Enterprise (CBE) goal set forth with over 65% of the contracts awarded to CBEs and more than $10 million dollars worth of contracts have been awarded to Ward 7 and 8 businesses.

Events DC along with its project teams, Brailsford & Dunlavey as the program management team, the architect/engineer joint venture of Washington Area Design Group and Smoot/Gilbane Sports as the construction management team, have played a key role in the planning, design and construction of the new facility.

To learn more about the Arena and to view the upcoming calendar of events,

About Events DC

Events DC, the official convention and sports authority for the District of Columbia, delivers premier event services and flexible venues across the nation’s capital. Leveraging the power of a world-class destination and creating amazing attendee experiences, Events DC generates economic and community benefits through the attraction and promotion of business, athletic, entertainment and cultural activities. Events DC oversees the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, an anchor of the District’s hospitality and tourism economy that hosts more than 1.7 million visitors and generates more than $400 million annually in total economic impact, and the historic Carnegie Library at Mt. Vernon Square. Events DC manages the RFK Stadium-Armory Campus (RFK Campus), including Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium, Festival Grounds at RFK Campus, the non-military functions of the DC Armory and Skate Park at RFK Campus. Stay current on the 190-acre RFK Campus Redevelopment Project at Events DC also built and serves as landlord for Nationals Park, the first LEED-certified major professional sports stadium in the United States. Events DC manages Gateway DC, R.I.S.E. Demonstration Center and is building the Entertainment and Sports Arena (, all conveniently located in the Congress Heights neighborhood of Washington, DC. For more information, please visit and find us on social media – Facebook (Events DC), Twitter (@TheEventsDC) and Instagram (@EventsDC).