The SuperGen Group, owner of the Chinese esports organization Edward Gaming, has announced that the construction of the brand new “Shanghai International Culture and Creative Esports Center” in the city’s Minhang district has begun.
A ceremony was held to commemorate breaking ground on the new site earlier this week to celebrate the start of work, which is expected to be completed by 2023.
The venue will be Edward Gaming’s new home venue, as well as hosting its own 6,000 seater esports venue, an esports-themed five-star hotel, an indoor skydiving attraction, and a number of other attractions.
This is a significant investment by the SuperGen Group, with a budget of around US$774 million for the first phase of the project and an estimated total cost of around $1.5 billion for the project. The park will be about 500,000 square meters in size and there are plans to hold more than 300 esports tournaments at the venue each year, with 10,000 visitors each day.
The new center will create around 2000 jobs in the esports industry, with hundreds of esports companies expected to try and set up offices on the site too.
There is no denying that this new venue will be an enormous statement of the intention of Shanghai and China to become a major hub for esports, not only in Asia, but worldwide. Another important issue is that the possibility of the new complex amplifying calls for Olympic recognition for esports.
ASIAN GAMES RECOGNITION – SHANGHAI
There is no doubt that there is a real push for esports to be included in future iterations of the Olympic Games from countries in East Asia, notably China and South Korea, as well as companies like Intel.
While pushback from some notable figures within the IOC has generally been met with this, there are those who are sympathetic to the notion of esports becoming an Olympic event.
One of the first moves toward that was achieved back in December when the organizers of the 2022 Asian Games in Hangzhou, China announced that esports will be an official medal event at the 2022 Asian Games after a successful trial as a demonstration sport at the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta.
A number of matches, such as League of Legends, StarCraft II, Clash Royale, Pro Evolution Soccer 2018, Hearthstone, and Arena of Valor, were played at the 2018 Games. For the 2022 games, many of these, and maybe some new titles, may be included.
There is no question that the development of an esports super-center in Shanghai is a major announcement by those involved in the East Asian esports industry.
It is one of a rising number of tailor-made esports centers that have been, or are being, developed all over the world. It also gives additional prestige to the inclusion of esports in the 2022 Asian Games as an official medal event.
Although esports were rejected as a medal event for the 2024 Paris Olympics, it is noteworthy that breakdancing was included , which gives esports hope that non-traditional sports will push their way into the Olympic fold.