Software Development
Gaming / Sports

The Philadelphia Union are getting in on the esports craze

N3rd Street Gamers will produce a tournament to find the top “FIFA 18” player to represent the Union in a competitive national league. IBX is a presenting sponsor.

A N3rd Street Gamers–produced tournament seeks to find a "FIFA 18" hotshot to represent the Philly team. (Courtesy photo)

The uptick in esports attention from national, established brands continues: the Philadelphia Union just announced a partnership with N3rd Street Gamers and Independence Blue Cross to get in on eMLS, the Major League Soccer’s competitive gaming league for FIFA 18.

Northern Liberties–based N3rd Street Gamers, organizer of esports events, will organize two qualifiers and a final face-off at Talen Energy Stadium in Chester, Pa., to find the hotshot gamer who will represent the Union in a bracket-style tournament against 18 other players. Independence Blue Cross will be the tournament’s presenting sponsor.

“eMLS is an innovative, exciting initiative and we’re looking forward to hosting the Union Esports Open soon in order to find the best FIFA 18 player in Philadelphia,” said Union Vice President of Marketing Doug Vosik. “Gaming is a burgeoning industry and connecting the Philadelphia Union to the gaming community is a logical way for us to help grow the game of soccer — both real-life and virtual — across our area.”

While anyone is welcome to participate, N3rd Street Gamers CEO John Fazio said getting a Philly-based player to rep the Union would be the best option.

The paid partnership, according to Fazio, is consistent with the startup’s mission: supporting game publishers and brands to organize professional tournaments with the aim of creating local ecosystems of amateur competitions.

Currently at five full-time employees and a network of 80 contractors across a handful of U.S. cities, the startup received backing from SeventySix Capital at the end of last year. Size of the investment was not disclosed but the company said it would use the funds to expand to two new markets.

The group has also opened a gaming center called LocalHost on N3rd Street, where it offers access to high-end gaming equipment and holds regular esports an gaming events.

Keep an eye out for the first qualifying event, which Fazio said should be taking place over the next couple of months.

Companies: Philadelphia Union

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