When the Washington Justice start a new season next month, the esports team will be opening Overwatch League play in a new facility.
The Justice this month are opening a home in D.C.’s Penn Quarter. Located at 415 8th St. NW, the 4,200-square-foot facility will house practices and competitions for the nine-player team and five staff members. It’s also designed to be a space for fans, with events and a retail shop with team gear.
“Going into this season we’re very excited to be able to call this new facility home for the foreseeable future,” said Grant Paranjape, the Washington Justice VP of esports business.
It shows the local esports team staking out its own home turf in the District. With the debut after D.C. entrepreneur Mark Ein bought the team in 2019, the Justice played in L.A., where the entire league played at Blizzard Studios. Next year brought more local presence, as the team partnered with Events DC to hold a homestand series at The Anthem that drew hundreds, and was based out of Rosslyn in a space that was designed to be temporary.
With the new venue, players will also live at the same site, as adjacent housing for the team at Lansburgh Corporate Apartment is connected to the new space. It’s only an elevator ride to the facility. The living situation also shows an evolution for the sport: Players used to be separate, then many teams previously lived together in houses. Now they have separate spaces for living and esports, as well as individual apartments.
The Justice is also thinking about the fans, which will be allowed into the space in accordance with lifting of COVID restrictions maintained by the District. It’ll be a chance to have a communal space around a sport that can take place online.
“You may be sitting online but you’re doing it together. In these times where we’ve been forced to be separated, esports have given people a good outlet,” Paranjape said.
In that sense the team is also thinking like the franchises of other sports: It’ll have events for fans, and having a store can allow fans to pick up a jersey of their favorite player, and represent the team beyond the walls of the facility.
“We’re excited to be able to welcome fans back in person and do it in a safe and responsible way while bringing activity downtown to the Penn Quarter area while also giving our players an incredible experience,” Paranjape said.
The Justice season kicks off on April 16. Here’s a couple more renderings of the space: