The Washington Justice of the Overwatch League today will announce the official opening of its new team facility in downtown D.C., SBJ’s Adam Stern reports, as owner Mark Ein checks off another box on his long-term to-do list for the franchise.
Ein declined to disclose to SBJ/TEO how much he invested in the facility, but it will be a 4,200-square-foot, ground-floor space on 7th Street of the Penn Quarter neighborhood. Features of the facility include practice spaces and equipment for players, viewing areas for fans and a full retail shop. It also is connected to a nearby apartment complex where the players will live, meaning they will be a part of the community on a daily basis.
Some aspects of the facility like décor are still being completed so the team is just releasing renderings today, but it is open as of this week. Ein said another part of his long-term vision is to eventually have the franchise play home games in a larger arena dedicated for esports, but that in the meantime this gives the Justice the ability to host smaller groups of fans for watch parties while the team is playing.
The Justice worked with sponsor Events DC, which manages and promotes events in the district, on finding the space for the facility.
“It always was a core part of our vision to create a space where the team could practice, fans could come interact with players and the game, we could host matches, and it was an immersive experience ideally somewhere in heart of Washington,” Ein told SBJ/TEO on Tuesday. “This has been a core part of what we set out to do and we’re thrilled we found this space on 7th Street which does all that.”
The Justice hosted two homestand events last season before the pandemic forced the league to go to online-only action, and both Ein and Events DC President & CEO Gregory O’Dell are eager to get back to putting on such matches as soon as feasible. The fourth season of the OWL kicks off next month.
Ein is also believed to be in the running to land a Call of Duty League expansion franchise, and he conceded there is room in the facility for more teams if needed in the future. The facility, technically called the Washington Justice Practice Facility, does not have a corporate sponsor name attached to it for now.
O’Dell noted that Events DC is positioning the district as place that could be another major hub for esports in America, and that the Justice have been one of the first pillars of that effort.
“Generally speaking, we are bullish as a city on esports,” O’Dell said. “Wayne Gretzky said, ‘Skate to where the puck is going to be,’ and this is where the puck is going to be. We’ve seen the tremendous growth of esports, and we’re focused on trying to bring events to this market.”
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