Startups

After Jacksonville shooting, N3rd Street Gamers puts next esports event on hold

Philly's N3rd Street Gamers was due to organize the next “Madden” qualifier.

Grouper is the latest game to come from Mindgrub's mobile gaming division.

Had Sunday’s Madden 19 championship qualifier in Jacksonville, Fla., ended like any other esports tournament, it would have been Philly’s N3rd Street Gamers turn to host the next Northeast Qualifier in Washington, D.C.

But that was until a Baltimore man named David Katz shot and killed three people, injured 11, and fatally turned the gun on himself at the Jacksonville Landing outdoor mall, where the tournament was taking place.

Now, N3rd Street Gamers CEO John Fazio said, there’s no immediate answer on what will happen to his group’s Aug. 31–Sept. 2 event.

“We are currently in discussions with EA regarding the next qualifier,” Fazio said. “We’re committed to immediate security upgrades of our permanent esports facilities as well as at our upcoming events at third party facilities.”

Following the mass shooting, the esports community is grappling with both the aftermath of the violence and concerns over security at esports tournaments. Fazio said NSG, like other event organizers, is currently at work to up security protocols after the shooting.

“Yesterday’s tragedy has bolstered a unified and industry-wide effort to improve event security,” Fazio said via email. “Our team has been in contact with numerous organizers who are working hard to immediately improve protocols and implement best practices. The esports community is tight-knit and we stand together in our commitment to ensure violence like this never happens again. Our hearts are with the victims and their families.”

The NoLibs-based company, which focuses on developing the next wave of esports athletes, organizes esports events around the country. In June, it received an undisclosed amount from Comcast Spectacor aimed at expanding the company’s gaming center, LocalHost, to two more markets over the next 18 months. SeventySix Capital also invested in the company in 2017.

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