New Jersey EDA to lead state-wide esports initiatives

The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA), the state’s principal agency driving economic growth, has unveiled an initiative to curate and support businesses which “accelerate” the esports industry’s development in the Garden State.

The strategy will see the NJEDA serve as a catalyst for esports activity in New Jersey, collaborating with stakeholders and local bodies to support efforts which push the industry forward. Starting with two key ventures, the NJEDA will work with partners throughout the industry to establish the state as an “epicenter” of esports in the United States.

Tim Sullivan, CEO of New Jersey Economic Development Authority, commented on the initiative in a release: “As the COVID-19 pandemic persists, finding new ways to bring people together virtually and supporting industries that can thrive without in-person interaction is crucial. Esports are uniquely positioned to address both of these priorities, and the NJEDA is excited to help to bring the benefits of this new industry to communities throughout New Jersey.”

One technique in the state’s masterplan is to drive esports interest through betting. The fruits of which arrived today as the Division of Gaming Enforcement issued an approval notice for the state’s licensed operators to accept wagers on the CS:GO Legends Series event.

Produced by Allied Esports and monitored by the Esports Integrity Commission, the online tournament will be held to the industry standards and procedures for safeguarding competitive integrity. This includes the distribution of event guidelines outlining betting, inside information, match-fixing, and cheating to participating teams and players.

The NJEDA initiative will launch alongside Conference One (CF1), a “first-of-its-kind” collegiate esports league headquartered in New Jersey. Facilitated by the Authority, CF1 will create a collegiate varsity esports league bringing together teams from more than 128 institutions across the country.

Starting in October, Conference One will host its inaugural season with Riot Games’ VALORANT. Participating schools, organised into four regions – North, South, East, and West – will compete in round-robin matches culminating in tournament finals. Organisers anticipate including more esports titles in the league in the future.

Anthony Gaud, CEO of Gaud-Hammer Gaming Group, an esports agency which manages Conference One, added: “Finding the ideal location to establish Conference One was challenging. We needed a place with a robust technology infrastructure that could handle the demands of major livestreamed events, a highly skilled and adaptable workforce, and an established sports wagering industry. Not many locations offer all of that, but New Jersey has it all.

“We look forward to collaborating with the NJEDA and other partners throughout the state to grow Conference One while supporting New Jersey’s emerging status as the hub of the American esports industry.”

The NJEDA mentions these autumn-bound initiatives are “just the beginning of the industry’s growth in New Jersey.” Individuals and companies with innovative ideas pertaining to esports are invited to contact the NJEDA directly.

Esports Insider says: Having the NJEDA in the esports industry’s corner will be a serious catalyst for growth in the Garden State – and that’s no embellishment. This initiative will provide resources for stakeholders and establish key connections for esports businesses to thrive in the state.

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