SANDUSKY, Ohio--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Cedar Fair Entertainment Company (NYSE: FUN), a leader in regional amusement parks, water parks and immersive entertainment, today announced it is exploring the potential development of an esports arena in Sandusky. The facility would be a beacon for Midwest youth and collegiate gaming and esports, providing a best-in-class space to host competitive events for up to 1,500 stadium spectators. It would include 200 gaming stations and offer a wide range of food and beverage options, supplying amenities for competitors, gamers, and spectators alike.
“Our long-term strategy is focused on delivering an immersive entertainment experience that differentiates our parks and makes our park guests want to come back again and again,” said Richard A. Zimmerman, Cedar Fair president and chief executive officer. “The opening of our Cedar Point Sports Center in 2017 was consistent with this strategy and has proved to be enormously popular with amateur sports teams and other large groups. Given the booming popularity of esports, we believe there is an opportunity to tap into the growing appetite for that form of entertainment and package it with all that Cedar Point has to offer.”
The facility would represent 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 Sports Center is a significant economic driver that demonstrates Cedar Fair’s continued investment in the region.
Cedar Fair is partnering with Esports Development Co. LLC, a privately held entity with significant experience and connections in the gaming world, to develop preliminary plans for the estimated $28 million arena. This Ohio-based group plans to work with the “best of breed” Tier 1 gaming companies to provide a world-class experience for guests and gamers alike.
Esports is the competitive side of the rapidly growing electronic gaming industry. Global revenue from competitive gaming is projected to hit $1.1 billion this year, with double-digit growth year-over-year and an estimated audience of nearly 475 million people. 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.
Preliminary development plans for the esports facility were submitted to the City of Sandusky Planning Commission for review at its regularly scheduled meeting July 28 by OSPORTS, a division of Osborn Engineering Company, which also designed Cedar Point Sports Center. The proposed development consists of a 1,500-seat multi-purpose arena designed specifically for esports, but could also host concerts, youth-oriented camps and educational opportunities such as STEM programming. The first floor also consists of a 200-station gaming hub, locker rooms and food court area. The second floor of the facility will include a restaurant with outdoor terrace, a broadcast studio and ancillary office space. The third and fourth floors are to be dormitory rooms for esports camp and event attendees.
If the development is approved and necessary financing secured, construction would be expected to commence before the end of this year, with targeted opening in the first half of 2023.
About Cedar Fair
Cedar Fair Entertainment Company (NYSE: FUN), one of the largest regional amusement-resort operators in the world, is a publicly traded partnership headquartered in Sandusky, Ohio. Focused on its mission to make people happy by providing fun, immersive and memorable experiences, the Company owns and operates 13 properties, consisting of 11 amusement parks, four separately gated outdoor water parks, and resort accommodations totaling more than 2,300 rooms and more than 600 luxury RV sites. Cedar Fair’s parks are located in Ohio, California, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Missouri, Michigan, Texas and Toronto, Ontario. The Company also operates an additional theme park in California under a management contract.
Some of the statements contained in this news release that are not historical in nature constitute “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, including statements as to the Company's expectations, beliefs, goals and strategies regarding the future. These forward-looking statements may involve risks and uncertainties that are difficult to predict, may be beyond our control and could cause actual results to differ materially from those described in such statements. Although the Company believes that the expectations reflected in such forward-looking statements are reasonable, it can give no assurance that such expectations will prove to be correct, or that the Company's business optimization and growth strategies will achieve the target results. Important factors, including the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, general economic conditions, adverse weather conditions, competition for consumer leisure time and spending, unanticipated construction delays, changes in the Company’s capital investment plans and projects and other factors discussed from time to time by the Company in its reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) could affect attendance at the Company’s parks, as well as the Company's business optimization program, and cause actual results to differ materially from the Company's expectations or otherwise to fluctuate or decrease. Additional information on risk factors that may affect the business and financial results of the Company can be found in the Company's Annual Report on Form 10-K and in the filings of the Company made from time to time with the SEC. The Company undertakes no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events, information, circumstances or otherwise that arise after the publication of this document.