- The New Jersey Economic Development Authority has approved a $200,000 plan to sponsor a new esports center
- The Stockton University Esports Innovation Center will focus on transforming Atlantic City into an epicenter of esports
- Through its operation, the center will seek to close gender, racial and other employment gaps in esports and boost the local economy
Atlantic City beckons to esports enthusiasts with a new innovation center and a $200,000 investment to spur growth in the region.
Atlantic City Is Making a Claim as Esports Hub in the US
Cities around the United States are caught in an esports fever as they push to establish themselves on the competitive video gaming map. Now, New Jersey is the latest to move in that direction through new funding of an esports arena project.
Looking to the West and the HyperX Arena in Las Vegas, the Garden State probably thinks that it's time to catch up. The Stockton University Esports Innovation Center may be just the jolt the state needs to start catching up.
The New Jersey Economic Development Authority has signed a memorandum of understanding with the school vowing the financial support and additional staffing resources in order to help the project take off to a successful start.
Stockton University is also not mincing its words and has set the bar high for what it seeks to achieve through investment. In an official statement, the university argues that it wants to help the Garden State become the “epicenter” for competitive video gaming, an ambitious task that is not out of reach.
The focal point of this innovation and push will be, of course, Atlantic City, with its rich tourism industry and well-connected ties with other cities and even overseas destinations. The hub will support various initiatives, including field research and development, product demonstrations, and more.
The Esports Innovation Center will work with the Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) to look into numerous matters, including the regulation of esports betting, help with diversity and inclusion in competitive video gaming, and establish healthy overall practices for the gaming industry.
Pushing for a Better Esports Ethos in NJ
Stockton and NJDGE are confident that leaning more heavily on esports will lead to numerous opportunities, including the creation of high-quality, high-wage jobs, such as software engineers in the state, content and product developers, and more.
Lt. Gov. Sheila Y. Oliver said that choosing Stockton University as a propagator of esports is a great opportunity because the academic institution can best support the rapidly-growing esports industry and explore any associated economic opportunities for residents and local businesses, and beyond.
The Center will have to hire a director who is well-versed and well-connected in esports. Their salary will be partly covered by the $200,000 allocated by the NJEDA. The school will have its Chief Information Officer Scott Hutson help with the establishment of the center.
While no exact number of potential new jobs has been cited, hopes are that the Esports Innovation Center will remain a strong and indefinite generator of new opportunities. This is not New Jersey's first esports rodeo either.
The pandemic and shutdown of all mainstream sporting events have prompted many companies to seek further opportunities for esports, and many chose New Jersey as a good investment opportunity. G3 Esports, Amazon's Twitch, Esports Entertainment Group, and others all started investing heavily in the Garden State and establishing their esports operations in a more permanent capacity.
Existing esports stakeholders in New Jersey will also have the opportunity to join the center as members and participate in various initiatives such as research, awareness campaigns, and more. The center will attempt to close any gender, racial and other employment gaps, pushing the esports job market towards a more even playfield for all.