Expanding on its collaboration with retailer Five Below, esports company Nerd Street Gamers (NSG) will be opening three esports facilities across the country this month, including one in North Philadelphia.
As of Tuesday, the new Localhost facility in Philly — in the Bakers Centre shopping center at 2800 Fox St. — is open and operational for players, as is a Localhost in Georgetown, Texas. A third facility will open laster this month in St. Louis, “with additional Five Below Localhosts to follow,” the company said.
Around this time last year, NSG announced it had closed a $12.5 million Series A led by Five Below with plans to build 3,000-square-foot Localhost esports facilities in select stores. It was a nod to Philadelphia’s quickly rising esports industry and an example of how two Philly-based companies could partner to create physical spaces for gamers to gather in public spots across town.
“Nerd Street Gamers’ mission is to increase access to the equipment and technology required to be successful in competitive gaming,” founder and CEO John Fazio said in a statement. “Our partnership with Five Below is a key example of how we’re working to solve this problem, by bringing opportunities to amateur gamers at a national scale. We’re looking forward to seeing the success of these new Localhosts and the future of our relationship together.”
The new Localhost facilities also come on the coattails of a very big announcement from the esports company: It’s moving into a massive HQ on North Broad Street called The Block with room for offices, gaming, a broadcast studio and competitions. Fazio talked to Technical.ly this summer about how the pandemic shifted the timing of the company’s plans and the current state of the gaming industry because large-scale events can’t happen in a pandemic.
Customers will be able to enter the approximately 3,000-square-foot facilities through an adjacent Five Below store or through an external entrance. The facilities are observing pandemic-related safety measures, like social distancing and extra cleaning of gear. The Nicetown location is the only one currently open in the city, as the Wells Fargo location and original facility on North Third Street are temporarily closed.
“Both of our companies are looking to drive innovation, and we align on so many values — a major one being affordability and accessibility to all consumers,” said Joel Anderson, CEO of Five Below. “We’re excited to partner together to bring esports to everyone regardless of income and to power the next generation of athletes.”-30-