The gaming lounge will be the first in the Greater Cincinnati area, and is among four new lounges being added to GameWorks locations in Minneapolis, Chicago, Virginia Beach, Va., as well as the local area.
The new dedicated gaming lounge is slated to open on March 20. The lounges typically accommodate up to 100 guests, and feature multiple personal play stations and oversized couches to accommodate gamers and spectators.
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The company estimates that by 2020, 70 million people will watch an esports final, which is more than the viewership for the American professional baseball, soccer, and hockey finals. By that time, consumers will watch 3 billion hours of esports, or 10 percent of all sports viewing.
Already, more men age 18 to 25 watch esports than traditional sports, according to Esports Marketing Blog. Esports teams and leagues are collecting high-dollar sponsors, like Mercedes. They are selling professional franchises to the owners of “traditional” American sports teams. High schools are forming teams, and universities are offering scholarships.
Cincinnati-based North American Properties purchased Newport on the Levee in December and has promised to invest more than $100 million in the 360,000-square-foot mixed-use property along the Ohio River.
North American Properties plans to announce renovations, construction and new tenants over the next few months. Hastings noted that space on the inside of the first floor of the mall will also be utilized for "mind and body" classes, which will be open to individuals and families.
North American Properties managing partner and chief investment officer Tim Perry said that when the revamp of Newport on the Levee is complete, there will be nothing like this in the entire midwest.
“Our vision focuses on the 'New' within Newport on the Levee. New chef-driven restaurants, new vibrant entertainment options, new creative workspaces that will all enhance the existing property that sits on top of 2,200 covered parking spaces with irreplaceable city and river views," Perry said.