The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA), the state’s principal agency driving economic growth, will support the establishment of an esports ‘Innovation Center’ at Stockton University’s Atlantic City campus.
Through a recently approved memorandum of understanding (MOU), NJEDA will provide $200,000 (~£140,882) in funding and onsite staff support for the Innovation Center. The initiative is ‘expected to contribute to establishing Atlantic City as a hub for the rapidly growing esports industry,’ according to a release.
Lieutenant Governor Sheila Oliver, who serves as Commissioner of the Department of Community Affairs, commented on the news in a release: “Atlantic City has always been a top destination for entertainment in New Jersey, so establishing the city as an epicentre of the growing esports industry is a logical and exciting step forward.
“The esports Innovation Center at Stockton University is an innovative project that will work in tandem with our ongoing revitalisation and job creation efforts to help pave the way for equitable and lasting economic growth in Atlantic City.”
The Innovation Center promises to create new academic and workforce opportunities, as well as support local economic development in the spirit of furthering the Garden State’s position in the esports industry. This includes an ongoing working relationship with the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (NJDGE) and other independent bodies that govern integrity in competition to position the state as a leader in ‘regulation and integrity practices for esports’.
NJEDA Chief Executive Officer Tim Sullivan added: “Establishing New Jersey as the State of Innovation requires thinking outside the box and supporting new industries that have shown strong potential for sustainable, equitable growth.”
In September, the NJEDA announced a commitment to support businesses which ‘accelerate’ the esports industry’s development in the Garden State. The strategic initiative involved collaborating with stakeholders and local bodies to support efforts that push the industry forward. This included the launch of a collegiate esports league, Conference One, as well as a push to approve the VIE Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Legend Series event for wagering.
Esports Insider says: The NJEDA’s $200,000 investment in Stockton University’s esports centre is certainly nothing to sneeze at, and a good show of the agency’s commitment to growing esports in the state. The NJEDA has now made several key investments in this sector since announcing its strategic initiative in September of last year, with more surely on the horizon.