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eSports promoter Gfinity Australia has today announced a long-term partnership with cinema company Hoyts to build a number of dedicated eSports venues in Australia.
While it is currently unclear as to whether Hoyts plans on repurposing some of their existing cinemas into eSports venues, or whether they’ll simply build dedicated spaces, the news is nonetheless exciting for Australian eSports fans who have traditionally been forced to settle for less-than-ideal locations for major events.
The first eSports arena is set to be finished in April, and will be located at the Moore Park Entertainment Quarter in Sydney’s east. The arena will reportedly be kitted out with “state of the art” gaming equipment and will also boast a full broadcast and production suite on-site.
Hoyts CEO Damian Keogh explained the decision, saying “Sydney’s Moore Park was a natural fit for the first dedicated eSports Arena, given its history as a sporting precinct.
“With proximity to the Sydney Cricket Ground and Sydney Football Stadium, we feel this is the perfect setting to offer eSports fans the impact of a cinema styled viewing experience that will be unlike anything else in Australia.”
There is currently no word on exactly how many dedicated venues are planned as part of this agreement, although given the agreement was described as “long-term”, it figures to be a substantial number.
Incoming Gfinity Australia CEO Dominic Redmond – formerly of the Sydney Sixers – said he was “delighted” with the partnership.
“The eSport arenas will be a game changer for eSports in Australia and will allow fans and players to enjoy the best gaming action within a high quality location
“This will enable our fans and audiences to join in the excitement,” he said.
The announcement comes after Gfinity Australia also announced a branding partnership with Dell, just months out from the launch of the Australian Gfinity Elite Series, which will be the first event to take place in the arena.
The Gfinity Elite Series will see six city-based Australian teams competing in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Street Fighter V and Rocket League. Like the original UK version of the competition, the Elite Series is directly tied to the currently ongoing Challenger Series, where ordinary gamers can compete in the games aforementioned and subsequently enter the Elite Draft.
In the first UK Elite Series, three of the six Rocket League grand finalists were actually drafted from the Challenger Series.
The last year has seen a very steady increase in the number of eSports tournaments taking place in Australia. The Intel Extreme Masters visited Sydney for the first time last year and, alongside two more eSports tournaments, will be making a triumphant return later this year.
Last year also saw the Overwatch World Cup host one of its four group stage events here, while the Hearthstone Sydney Inn-vitational in December proved wildly popular too.
But these events have often been forced to make do with makeshift venues, such as The Star in Sydney or, in Hearthstone’s case, eschew a live audience altogether.
This news should mean more Australian eSports events are able to take place in a more genuine environment.
Note: Gfinity Australia is a joint venture with HT&E Events. The Roar is published by Conversant Media, which is owned by HT&E.