In an effort to bring esports even closer to mainstream recognition, the Korean government announces plans to build three more esports stadiums as well as a dedicated referee training facility.
The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism announced the project to build up to three new esports facilities in Korea by 2020. A dedicated tournament area, a broadcasting relay facility and a production studio are all in the plans, according to the official announcement. In addition, the Ministry expects to discuss the expansion of the existing sports facilities in order to make them more suitable to include esports.
Other mid-to-long-term plans include a dedicated referee training organ and a specialized agency to nurture human resources needed for the continuous growth of the esports industry. “We plan to design the facility in a way that it can utilize various aspects of esports tournaments as well as cultural performances and tourism programs,” an official of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism told the press.
This is in line with the plan to expand esports to the region included in the “e-Sports promotion mid-to-long term plan” announced by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism back in December 2014. Since then, there have been several esports stadiums built in Korea in 2016 for a total of 306.4 billion won ($274 million USD). In order to lessen the costs, the ministry plans to improve and expand the existing esports and sports arenas.
Currently, the Ministry of Strategy and Finance considers the budget for the project in question.
The plans for the dedicated referee training facility might prove to be even more vital for the future growth of the industry. It is implied that it will become the cornerstone element that will allow esports to register as a member of the Korea Sports Association. Currently, the Daejeon Metropolitan City Athletic Association is the only sports association in Korea that accepts esports.
The proposal by the Ministry is in line with esports being selected as a model sport for the Jakarta-Palembang Asian Games and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) considering entering esports in the Olympic Games. “As esports become a regular sport, the impact on the gaming and sports industries will be even greater,” said a Ministry of Culture and Tourism official.
According to the announcement, the exact details of the project will be revealed later this month.
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