Cedar Fair announces first phase of E-sports facility near Cedar Point

Posted | Contributed by Jeff

From the press release.

Cedar Fair Entertainment Company (NYSE: FUN), a leader in regional amusement parks, water parks and immersive entertainment, today announced details for the first phase of a planned competitive gaming development at the Cedar Point Sports Center in Sandusky.

The first phase of what will be known as Cedar Point Esports will be a 1,000-square-foot space that will house a state-of-the-art, full-service gaming area with the capability to broadcast and produce livestreams and content. Centralized within the venue will be 32 competitive gaming setups against the backdrop of multimedia video displays that have the flexibility to connect for larger events. Top-tier professional gaming stations and equipment will be utilized throughout the first phase for practice, competition, and extra-curricular play.

The vision for this first phase of development, which will open in May, is to create Northern Ohio’s premier immersive gaming experience for leagues, camps and clinics. The facility also can serve as a practice venue for local high school and collegiate esports teams. This initial phase will eventually serve as the gateway from the existing Cedar Point Sports Center to the upcoming larger Phase II expansion. Future plans for the development are likely to include food, beverage and a larger competitive space.

“Cedar Fair’s long-term strategy is focused on delivering immersive entertainment experiences that differentiate our parks and create an environment where guests want to come back again and again,” said Richard A. Zimmerman, president and chief executive officer. “The opening of the Cedar Point Sports Center in 2017 was consistent with this strategy and has proved to be a huge draw for amateur sports teams and other large groups. Given the booming popularity of competitive gaming, we believe there is an opportunity to tap into its rapid worldwide growth, while providing a natural tie-in to all that Cedar Point has to offer.”

Cedar Fair is partnering with North Coast Entertainment (NCE) to develop and run the facility, which will be an additional amenity for the Cedar Point Sports Center that can regularly be used by visitors and the public alike. NCE was established to be the consummate host for the gamer in each of us. The company is deliberate with each of its projects to keep the adventurous entertained and expand the gamer experience through both physical and virtual spaces.

“We believe Cedar Point Esports will be the region’s premier destination for daily video game play, highly anticipated competitive gaming events and tournaments, and gaming-related experiences,” said Scott Norcross, founder and chief executive officer of NCE and a 15-year veteran of the esports industry. He started in the early 2000s representing professional esports and traditional athletes and assisting with the startup and running of esports franchises. NCE has developed local area network (LAN) centers, gaming venues and live events throughout the East Coast, including spearheading esports for Destination Sport Miami. Norcross also is a partner at the law firm, Kohrman Jackson & Krantz, where he chairs the firm's Esports, Media & Entertainment Group.

Cedar Point Esports represents the next phase of development of the approximately $50 million Cedar Point Sports Center. That highly successful venue includes Sports Force Parks and its 10 multi-purpose outdoor turf fields, as well as a 145,000-square-foot indoor facility boasting 10 basketball courts. The Cedar Point Sports Center is a significant economic driver that reflects Cedar Fair’s continued investment in the region.

Esports is the competitive side of the rapidly growing electronic gaming industry. Global revenue from competitive gaming was estimated at nearly $1.4 billion last year, with double-digit growth year-over-year and an estimated audience of more than 530 million people worldwide. Two out of three Americans are gamers, with 75% of those between the ages of 18 and 34 years old. The average time spent gaming is more than six hours per week.

Cedar Point ESports

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