“Right now, I think it’s kind of in the idea phase,” Bryan Thompson said.
The Shapiro Group, a Montreal company, purchased the mall from the Carlyle Development Group in January 2017, and in August 2018 held a groundbreaking ceremony for the new sports complex.
The state-of-the-art field complex with artificial turf that can be used all year round has replaced a year-round ice rink. It has a capacity of 1,300 and the turf is used for a variety of activities including soccer, lacrosse, frisbee, volleyball, putting and chipping.
But that could change if the SUNY Canton student succeeds in converting it into an esports stadium. He said the grass pitch could potentially be moved to another location in the mall.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, esports tournaments were held in person. At the start of the pandemic, these were largely held online. Now they can start returning to the in-person competition, which could take place in Masséna.
“I kind of want to reuse this in a stadium eventually because it could mean our city and our mall have a lot of revenue and stuff like that,” Thompson said. “As we start to come out of the COVID era, things are generally coming back online to in person. It’s a good opportunity right now because as things start to open up again, that’s when you should be opening up new things for people to come in and pique their interest, which is all the point of starting now because we’re sort of going post-COVID.
His vision is to make Massena the venue for competitions, which could give the mall a financial boost.
“What I hope to do with the arena is I want to make sure that we have amateur, professional and competitive level teams that compete against each other every weekend for different matches. It would draw a lot of attention to the mall,” he said. “If we manage to get a professional team here, we could sell tickets for $200, $300 each just to make a profit towards the mall.”
In addition to this vision, Mr. Thompson said that Ethical Esports Ltd. had other goals. Among them are raising awareness and working to address ethical issues in the esports/gaming industry, and organizing community events to educate people about the economic benefits of esports and the future of esports.
He also wants to provide advice to anyone who wants to enter the esports industry and ultimately help people who are passionate about esports access training equipment.
He wants to offer college esports athletes possible scholarships from his non-profit organization and offer internships for college students studying esports with the opportunity to follow his organization.