As one of the most rapidly growing portions of the entertainment industry, esports has come into the public eye far more often over the past few decades. Whether it comes in the form of investment into pro esports teams, collegiate scholarship programs, or grassroots support in primary education, esports is now a segment of everyday life for many Americans. One company headquartered in Sandusky, Ohio, has big plans for their future venture into the esports industry.
Cedar Fair Entertainment Company
Cedar Fair Entertainment Company is best known for amusement parks across the United States, and their mission is to bring entertainment nationwide. Although the amusement park portion of the company has been around for decades, the company recently ventured into traditional sports leagues, tournaments, and camps in 2017 with the construction of their flagship sports facility, Cedar Point Sports Center. Constructed as the flagship Cedar Point Sports Center in Sandusky, Ohio, it provides opportunities to participate in sports events like basketball, volleyball, climbing, and even ninja courses yearlong for sports fanatics.
Cedar Point Esports Center
Following their success in the entertainment industry, Cedar Point is now expanding into the esports industry with their very first Esports Center as a new phase of development off the main location. With esports growth estimated to be over a billion dollars in 2022, there is a huge audience in the industry for gaming facilities across the country. As an extremely accessible and beginner friendly activity, nearly two-third of Americans this year self-describe as gamers, and Cedar Point is looking to capitalize on the growing prevalence of gaming in American culture.
The Cedar Point Esports Center will be a fully-fledged gaming arena, complete with competitive gaming setups, broadcasting stations, and compatibility with larger events. While it serves as a fantastic opportunity for regular Cedar Point guests to venture into the world of esports, the company is also hoping to utilize the space to connect high school and collegiate esports teams in the local area by hosting practices and events. The new esports facility will serve as a hub for competitive gaming in Sandusky, and all the while provides economic growth for the community.
Why is Cedar Point unique?
Cedar Point Esports Center is one of the only instances of a non-esports related entity investing in a physical esports location at this magnitude. As a publicly traded company, Cedar Fair Entertainment has a unique position to add esports to their entertainment roster more effortlessly than smaller organizations, and is one of the first entertainment companies to recognize the growing trend in gaming. Their venture into a rising section of entertainment may encourage other similar companies to follow suit when it comes to creating more opportunities for esports growth, without being tied to a gaming-specific business model.
The Future of Esports Locations
What does this mean for the growth of esports? Many esports opportunities, particularly for youth, are founded through grassroots movements within their respective communities by starting peer-lead teams. This often means teams lack support or a facility to turn to, and they end up practicing out of homes or schools with equipment that cannot support the highest tier of competitive play. Cedar Point Esports Center will pioneer this type of state-of-the-art facility that encourages esports development at the lowest level, and they are creating the potential for other entertainment companies to follow suit.