The North American movie theatre chain, Cinemark, has partnered with esports and gaming company, Mission Control, to bring both in-person and online esports events to their cinemas.
As a result of the partnership, a select number of Cinemark’s 523 movie theatres will start hosting public gaming events. These events will not technically be esports, they are open to the public and have a more amateur and casual focus. Anyone who can connect a console or PC to a projector could host these events. So, why did Cinemark partner with Mission Control?
The answer is the online play. Not only will Cinemark be hosting in-person gaming events, but they will also organise larger-scale online esports events. These will be based on the Mission Control platform and sound like a great way to spread some grassroots support for local esports events in areas that just can’t afford to host any major tournaments.
The in-person gaming events are focused on the Nintendo Switch. Enthusiasts can drop-in with their Nintendo Switch console to go head-to-head with other gamers. They will focus on some of the Nintendo classics like Super Smash Bros and Mario Kart 8 as well as some popular esports titles like Rocket League.
The online events have a wider range of available games like FIFA21, NBA 2K21, Call of Duty Black Ops Cold War, Rocket League, Mortal Kombat 11, and more. These events can be joined using the Mission Control app and the entry fee is only $15.
Comments from the companies
Justin McDaniel, Cinemark SVP of Global Content Strategy spoke about their plans for esports expansion:
“At Cinemark, we strive to continually evolve as an entertainment destination, offering our customers the opportunity to have an entertaining escape into more than just big films. Our immersive environment lends itself particularly well to the gaming community, putting players in the universes in which they are competing. We are excited to bring big games to the big screen with our drop-in play as well as collaborate with Mission Control to offer online Cinemark esports leagues.”
In the same announcement, Austin Smith, CEO and Co-Founder of Mission Control spoke about his excitement for the new open play method for esports:
“Our purpose at Mission Control is to gather and grow communities, in particular through our passion for gaming. By partnering with Cinemark, a brand already synonymous with community and entertainment, we have the opportunity to achieve our purpose by giving Cinemark communities another entertaining way to gather on our esports platform.”
The future of the partnership
These new events are as amateur as you can get. We know that esports betting in the USA is becoming more popular and accepted but don’t expect any sites to offer odds on these events. In reality, the actual benefit of these tournaments and gaming events is the ability to spread the world of esports outside of the hardcore community.
Cinemark is a huge theatre company and one of the biggest in both North and South America. If they choose to expand their esports events outside of North America, we could see a huge groundswell of grassroots esports support in areas that would traditionally be underserved.
The one flaw in this new partnership is the still present pandemic. If the US was to experience another wave of infections that close down public businesses, the events could stall, and the leagues could end. Outside of the pandemic, this is an interesting way to spread some esports cheer across the US.