SANDUSKY, Ohio – Cedar Fair is expanding beyond theme parks and into esports with the opening of a new gaming facility inside Cedar Point Sports Center in Sandusky.
The new Cedar Point Esports space offers 32 gaming stations, each featuring a 24-inch screen, a HyperX gaming mouse, keyboard, and headset. Players can play Fortnite, Valorant, League of Legends, Rocket League, Apex Legends, Counter-Strike 2, Teamfight Tactics, Hearthstone, NBA 2K, and Overwatch.
The goal is to create a hub for gaming enthusiasts and eSports athletes.
“Esports in general are growing exponentially every year,” Matt Hirschfeldt said Esports ohio He says. “It’s not just kids playing video games.”
Hirschfeldt serves as vice president of tournament operations for the educational nonprofit, which is also an eSports league created for students. He says Esports Ohio currently works with more than 500 high school esports programs.
“Many of our students are participating in sports for the first time,” Hirschfeldt told 3News. “Many of these students have opportunities to move on to college and play at the collegiate level with scholarship opportunities and continue on from there, but at least get a college education with a scholarship that wasn’t available to them before.”
James Elder knows how to get a scholarship playing online games. He is a leader Cleveland State University’s competitive esports team, focusing on gaming on Valorant. He received a small scholarship while pursuing a graduate degree in mechanical engineering.
“The way I got into this was through loving the game and playing the game,” Elder explained. “I’ve been lucky enough to have people around me who support me in doing this as well.”
Elder head coach PJ Farrell, who also serves as director of Cleveland State’s esports program, is looking forward to taking advantage of the new gaming center.
“I think a facility like this really close by will help us grow and get better and make some new connections and bring in some people from other states to compete with us,” Farrell said.
CSU’s program is more than a year old and has 40 players. Fifteen eSports athletes have received scholarships ranging from $1,000 to $4,000 each year.
“We are looking forward to growing the program,” Ferrell said. “As the program grows, we will have more scholarships available.”
Cedar Point Esports has partnered with North Coast Entertainment to bring the more than 1,000-square-foot gaming center to life. According to a press release from Cedar Fair, North Coast Entertainment President Scott Norcross said, “The first phase of Cedar Point Esports will focus on organizing leagues, camps and clinics to mentor and support aspiring esports athletes and anyone looking for new entertainment.”
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