Breakaway Esports officially launched today, a New Zealand esports entity consisting of a professional gaming team and elite gaming Dojo.

"From the ground up Breakaway Esports will facilitate the discovery and education of New Zealand's next generation of gamers" says Matt Walsh, CEO of the Breakers and Breakaway Esports. "The Breakaway ecosystem will be the ladder that makes a career as an elite competitor a reality for the nation's best."

The teams first player to be signed is professional gamer Campbell "airbrn" Knowles, a long time competitive FIFA player who will compete in both FIFA and NBA2K with Breakaway Esports. Airbrn's first tournament in Breakaway Esports colours will be the LPL NBA2K 1on1 National Championship starting 12th August where he will compete for his share of $15,000 in prizes.

With a combined audience of over 300,000 loyal fans, international gaming influencers Zac "Hazz" Woodham and Lorien "LoriiPops" Gugich have also joined the team to drive content and elevate the Breakaway Esports brand.

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The players' den – also known as the Dojo – will be an elite training ground for any aspiring esports athlete, as well as a space to provide general programming, tournaments and events for all to enjoy.

"Our Breakaway Esports team will train and maintain the same level of professionalism as the SKYCITY Breakers basketball players, with a focus on nutrition, training and overall mental health as part of a balanced training programme", says Walsh. "At the same time, we want to provide an inspiring and safe place for the younger audience to participate and the Dojo will provide this."

Featuring state of the art gaming equipment, the Dojo has been realised with the help of Playtech New Zealand and partners, who specialise in high end and gaming related hardware. General Manager Paul Kao has been following the development of esports in New Zealand closely, and jumped at the chance to be part of NZ gaming history.

"We've always been keen to support positive initiatives that capture the imagination of young people and put them on a positive path to achieving their goals, and up until now there have been limited options for kids to take their hobby of gaming in a more serious direction towards professional play. We've worked closely with the biggest names in the PC hardware industry to craft a full suite of bespoke gaming systems to ensure that the Dojo is outfitted with world class equipment, and we can't wait to see esports in New Zealand take off" Kao says.

The esports industry is growing at phenomenal rates and according to Newzoo's 2018 Global Esports Market Report, in the coming year the global esports economy is forecast to grow to US$905.6 million, up 38% year on year; and on its current trajectory it is estimated to reach US$1.4 billion by 2020. The global esports audience will reach 380 million this year.

"It's an exciting time for the esports community with explosive growth occurring worldwide" Walsh explained. "Breakaway Esports aims to be a leading charge in that growth, both in New Zealand and abroad. With the landscape of esports always evolving we have a lot to learn, but the goal is simple, to be the biggest and best esports franchise in Oceania".