Thursday, September 17, 2020

Nerd Street Gamers to Open World's First Esports Industry Campus in Philadelphia

 by Clarice King Costar

Nerd Street Gamers, a national esports infrastructure company, is planning to open what it's calling the world's first esports industry campus at the historic Terminal Commerce Building in Center City Philadelphia.

Called The Block, the campus will serve as Nerd Street Gamers' new corporate headquarters and is expected to include global broadcast studios, dedicated training centers for professional teams and schools, educational space for community partners and, subject to zoning approval, a Localhost facility capable of hosting community, scholastic, amateur and pro-level events and programming.

Nerd Street Gamers operates esports training facilities called Localhosts where guests can pay hourly rates and compete in amateur esports tournaments. Other Localhost locations include Denver and Austin, Texas, with Los Angeles and other locations across the country opening in the near future.

The Block will be located in a roughly 40,000-square-foot space within the 11-story, 1.3 million-square-foot building at 401 N. Broad St. that's owned by Netrality, the operator of strategic, fiber dense data centers that facilitate the interconnection between major fiber networks enabling regional connectivity. After acquiring the Terminal Commerce Building in 2014, Netrality invested over $50 million in renovations for the building, making it one of the most fiber-dense, network-neutral facilities along the East Coast. The building's internet capabilities support a near-zero lag time for competitive gamers.

"Not only are we creating one of the industry’s largest gaming landmarks with The Block, but we’re also building a home for every member of Philadelphia’s gaming community and contributing a vital element to the redevelopment of North Broad Street," John Fazio, founder and CEO of Nerd Street Gamers, said in a statement. "With this esports campus, we're supporting the growth of the industry as a whole by increasing access to opportunities for gamers, public organizations, educational institutions, and the community at large."

Nerd Street Gamers plans to open The Block this winter unless circumstances change given the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Block is the latest example of Philadelphia rapidly becoming an esports hub in the United States. Fusion Arena, the Comcast Spectacor and The Cordish Cos.' $50 million next-generation esports and entertainment venue, is slated to open in the heart of the Philadelphia Sports Complex. The Block will help solidify Philadelphia's role as a destination for industry professionals and fans by offering practice facilities, broadcast studios and exhibition opportunities for professional teams visiting the arena.

Nerd Street Gamers is also planing to provide low-cost access to high quality equipment and education to the Philadelhipa community. The company will also be partnering with local organizations and educational institutions for their respective esports programs, including Temple University, Comcast NBCUniversal LIFT Labs, Team Altemus, Aim Lab and TechGirlz.

The Block comes on the heels of Nerd Street Gamers' commitment to open an additional 100 venues across the United States in Five Below stores, stadiums and college campuses over the next five years.

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