The Cactus League, the Grapefruit League and the…Silicone Palm Tree League?
Spring training just got a whole lot more tech-y.
In the constantly-evolving arms race to build new and better eSports facilities to accommodate the proliferating number of events, one thing has been left out: the preseason training facility.
After Happy Walters struck up a conversation with neighbor Chad Faulkner about the latter’s new Sports Academy facility in Thousand Oaks, California, the duo drew the conclusion that what was already available for NFL, NBA and Olympics athletes – an off-season training facility – could also be made accessible to eSports players, too. An article in SportTechie discussed the evolution of the concept.
Catalyst Sports & Media, where Walters is a co-founder and CEO, collaborated with the multi-use athletic training and rehabilitation center to open Sandbox ESports, a first-of-its-kind eSports training facility for both professionals gamers and amateurs alike. Given some of the unused space and the “technology” within the center, Walter said “it just made sense” to build out the dedicated eSports hub.
According to the article,
Within the nearly 100,000 square foot facility, Sandbox ESports will only comprise a few hundred thousand feet, with the space holding up to 40 players as they use the available computers and hardware equipment for in-game training purposes. While players can practice around their respective titles, professional eSports franchises can also participate in customized boot camp and programs, which will include core exercises and mental training.
Two eSports franchises, FlyQuest and Counter Logic Gaming, trained at the facility during their offseasons and utilized additional cognitive machines and tools such as Dynaboard to improve hand-eye coordination, Neurotracker for testing memory skills and recovery equipment like a cryotherapy chamber and NormaTec.
Presently, Sandbox hosts League of Legends, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Overwatch and NBA 2K – although the door is open for other franchises and gaming areas down the road. And it’s not just screen time. There is a weight room, nutritionist and more, to help tailor special plans for each team.
Advanced eSport-specific training tools are available, including the Dynaboard (hand-eye coordination and reaction time), Neurotracker (memory and task prioritization skills) in addition to the recovery equipment (Cyrochamber and Normatec). On staff sports psychologists are available to address a variety of individual or team needs.
Sandbox ESports will offer fantasy camps and amateur camps taught by professional players and top-ranked gamers across each title.
At this point, other destinations have a choice: shrug it off or acknowledge this contribution to the rapidly proliferating market, with the idea, ‘Why hasn’t someone done this before?’ . And with the number of colleges offering eSports teams (and scholarships for outstanding players) growing, it’s a potential growth market that would be a mistake to ignore.