SKYCITY partners with New Zealand’s leading esports company
The Sky Tower will soon be home to New Zealand’s leading esports entertainment and broadcasting company, thanks to a
partnership between SKYCITY and Let’s Play Live in what’s considered the fastest-growing entertainment sector globally.
SKYCITY today announced the partnership, with a 40% share in a newly-formed company, Let’s Play Live Media (LPLM). The
arrangement will see development of the country’s first purpose-built esports broadcasting studio, which will open on
Level 2 of the Sky Tower, formerly known as XO Bar, this summer.
Let’s Play Live Call of Duty Infinite Warfare Premiership at SKYCITY Theatre in December 2016. Credit: Michael Tuck
Sonya Crosby, SKYCITY’s Chief Innovation Officer, says the partnership represents a stake in one of the many new and
exciting forms of entertainment technology that will define entertainment in the future.
“Globally, esports is growing at a rapid rate and has a large and diverse audience, young and old, male and female, and
people from all walks of life. We’re looking into the future and, as an entertainment technology company, we feel this
is an exciting new area to explore,” says Ms Crosby.
LPLM Managing Director John McRae says the partnership with SKYCITY will accelerate the business and enable it to
“SKYCITY’s involvement will see us reach our goals faster, commit for the long term, and take advantage of opportunities
we weren’t able to before. Through SKYCITY’s infrastructure and support we can now look forward to delivering more
community events and pro tournaments across Australasia and into Asia, and invest in new platforms,” says Mr McRae.
The studio will deliver live 4K and HD broadcasts and allow LPLM to film live esports events held at SKYCITY Theatre and
the New Zealand International Convention Centre Theatre, once opened. Dedicated PC and console booths within the studio
will host esports competitions and live stream to a giant external LED screen for esports fans to enjoy the action in
the SKYCITY Plaza at the base of the Sky Tower.
LPLM will continue to develop and promote amateur and professional esports tournaments. The partnership will see further
special family-friendly events held at SKYCITY sites in New Zealand and Australia.
The E Blacks, managed by LPLM, will promote New Zealand’s best esports players on the world stage and will provide a
professional pathway for the grass roots talent developed through local tournaments.
Esports is a truly global sport and commands a viewership estimated at 385 million. Against New Zealand’s national
sport, esports commands impressive numbers with a participation rate six times higher than rugby, according to research
by Gemba Group.
Let’s Play Live Media is New Zealand’s leading esports media company developing and promoting televised and online
esports tournaments and broadcast content.
Founded in 2016, LPLM has become one of Australasia’s leading esports companies with a number of firsts. The company was
a founding member of the New Zealand Esports Federation and New Zealand’s first national esports team - the E Blacks,
and initiated the first televised esports event in New Zealand and first televised long format esports series in
LPLM was also the first esports company to align with traditional sports teams in Australasia in an esports tournament
promotion - Vodafone Warriors and SKYCITY Breakers.
Esports is considered competitive multi-player video gaming.
Competitive gaming has exploded in the last five years since the introduction of ADSL2+ and fibre. It has moved from
arcades to Arena’s globally and shifted from a niche pursuit to a major sporting property.
Newzoo, a global esports research company, estimates this to reach 385 million in 2017, made up of 191 million esports
enthusiasts and a further 194 million occasional viewers. Locally, according to the Interactive Games and Interactive
Association, 68% of New Zealanders play video games and 31% of players (nearly 1 million) have watched esports.
Esports has already been confirmed as a medal event at the 2022 Asian Games, has the potential to be a medal event in the Paris summer games of 2024
and the phenomena is growing rapidly in New Zealand and Australia too.