When you think of possible New Zealand locations for esports centres, would the major sporting stadium Eden Park come to mind? Yes, Eden Park – famously home to physical sports like cricket, the Rugby World Cup and the All Blacks, will now be home to the Eden Park Esports High Performance Centre.
This centre will act as a hub for the Oceania esports community, with streaming practice rooms for teams to scrim and a broadcast area for live matches and commentary, alongside LAN areas for large scale events, and 5G and fibre capabilities.
Permanent streaming booths featuring the latest in broadcast technology will be available for local and visiting content creators to use, as well as chill out areas and space for the gaming and esports communities to host events and expand.
“New Zealand's national stadium is iconic and at the centre of many special memories for both Kiwis and tourists around the world. The Esports High Performance Centre will showcase Eden Park's ongoing ability to diversify, evolve, and be at the forefront of new technology,” says Eden Park's CEO Nick Sautner.
The centre will also act as a training centre for ‘esports stars' like League of Legends team Dire Wolves. Dire Wolves has just revealed a huge expansion including rosters in EA Sports FIFA, Overwatch, NBA 2K, and VALORANT, professional practice spaces, stream booths and broadcast capabilities.
The Eden Park Esports High Performance Centre will also act as a community hub for gaming, hosting weekly leagues for groups such as the fighting game community Standing Fierce.
“The Kiwi esports scene is an extremely passionate and vibrant one, and seeing our industry and community establish a new base in the home of New Zealand sport alongside titans of national culture such as the All Blacks and BLACKCAPS, is really exciting for us,” says Standing Fierce community manager David Douglas.
“The grassroots community in New Zealand has enormous potential, and having a venue like this, not just for our pro players to train, but to nurture and support local talent and fandoms, where we can hold events, network and exchange ideas will be hugely beneficial to the Oceanic scene.
Esports investment and advisory firm Guinevere Capital is backing the build. It has also been involved in launching esports centres at the United Kingdom's Twickenham Stadium and the Esports High Performance Centre in Australia's historic Sydney Cricket Ground.
Guinevere Capital managing director David Harris says the Eden Park Esports High Performance Centre creates a melting pot of esports and gaming communities.
“Whilst esports is a hugely modern industry which brings a new brand of athlete, setting up a facility like this in Eden Park, which holds immense legacy and cultural significance, feels fitting. Esports is going to be a huge part of New Zealand's future, and we're proud that we get to be a part of that.
The centre is expected to open sometime in Q3 (July-September) 2020.