Cinergy Entertainment Group announced that they have formed a partnership with Harena Data. The move will allow the American cinema chain, which owns movie theatres in Oklahoma and Texas, to host an esports league online. The first league competition will involve Nintendo’s Mario Kart, which is known for having broad appeal.
With the coronavirus pandemic forcing the temporary closure of multiple Cinergy Cinema locations, revenue has dropped precipitously. While Cinergy Cinema’s esports league isn’t expected to be a moneymaker in the short term, it aims to keep would-be moviegoers engaged with the Cinebrand.
Cinergy CEO Jeff Benson noted, “It [the pandemic] has had a huge impact, we are down about 85%. We are willing to try anything esports and pop-up drive in theatres, so yes, it is a direct response to the pandemic induced slowdown. We will try anything to stay relevant to our guests and attempt to stay top of mind. Without government help, if the pandemic continues for months more, we may find that all family entertainment centers and theatres disappear forever, so nothing is off limits and there are no bad ideas.”
Although Cinergy is first and foremost a cinema chain, the entertainment company also offers laser tag, escape rooms, virtual reality, bowling, axe throwing, and obstacle courses, all of which have been affected by the coronavirus closures. A thriving esports business could insulate the company from subsequent COVID-19 waves and future pandemics.
Benson added, “We are dedicated to our customer base, so letting them create leagues and recruit players allows us to make sure that we address their need for play and to remind them that Cinergy is committed to them having fun even during the dark Coronavirus days. We have been watching from the sidelines for a while. We have had a close relationship with the team over at Harena. Because of the pandemic, it just seemed like a natural time to have Cinergy expand into the virtual space.”
More information about all of Cinergy’s offerings can be found at cinergy.com.