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Published: November 25, 2021

Written by: David Kent

  • The state has approved a $5 million program to incentivize gaming events in Raleigh
  • Raleigh could become a hub for esports and gaming events
  • This could be a potential precedent that will be followed by other states

North Carolina is going to allocate millions of dollars in the hopes of capitalizing on the growing gaming and esports scene.

NC Passes an Incentive Program

The Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau and Subnation Media recently revealed that North Carolina’s State Legislature budget will include a $5 million grant for esports. It is hoped that this would help exports and event organizers to host their events in the state.

Co-chairman of the Greater Raleigh Esports Local Organizing Committee Ed Tomasi said “Raleigh is really positioned as a top global destination.” The city has hosted the international “Six Major” for Tom Clancy’s Rainbow 6: Siege in 2019, cementing its position as a destination for esports events. The event drew 2.6K daily attendees and generated $1.45M in direct economic impact for the area.

The region is already popular in the gaming industry as it is the home of tech innovators from Epic Games to Ubisoft to Red Hat. Tomasi added that many of the region’s employees are gamers themselves, so they would be interested in watching esports.

Raleigh Hopes to Become an Esports Center

The $5 million grant is the only one of its kind in the entire United States and it is hoped it will help bolster the region’s popularity amongst international esports organizers. Tomasi explained that they have already started receiving calls and offers for hosting tournaments and events in the greater Raleigh area.

Perhaps one of the biggest events, that is planned to be hosted in the region, is the new Halo Infinite Championship Series. It is planned that Raleigh will be the first official stop in the Championship circuit, expected to attract up to 5000 people next month. “From a visibility perspective, a brand perspective, there’s going to be millions of viewers via livestream,” Tomasi added.

Tomasi said that video games have evolved from being just “child’s play” to an actual sport. “You have professional athletes of traditional ball and stick sports investing into esports teams and leagues. This is the future of job creation in this entertainment space.”

With the ever-growing scene of esports and gaming in general, some states will surely start looking at them as a potential sphere in need of stimulation. Acts like this continue to help legitimize the esports industry and it appears we will be seeing more similar bills passed in the future.

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