NEWARK, NJ, March 8, 2022 – Edge is pleased to partner with Stockton University to create new academic and workforce development opportunities within the esports industry and establish New Jersey as a prominent hub for esports innovation. An important driver of this mission is the Esports Innovation Center (EIC) at Stockton University’s Atlantic City campus, which is being created with support from the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA).
Esports, or competitive video gaming, is a rapidly growing global industry that has become a significant draw for prospective students looking at colleges and universities. The EIC aims to help shape the future of the esports landscape and attract top talent to the state by providing students with unique competitive gaming opportunities, enhanced academic offerings, and introductions to private sector businesses within the local esports ecosystem.
“The Innovation Center will promote innovative collaboration and partnerships that position the state of New Jersey as a leader in the esports industry, resulting in job growth and economic development,” says Dr. Forough Ghahramani, Ed.D., Associate Vice President Research, Innovation, and Sponsored Programs, Edge. “Esports has the potential to engage players and fans regardless of background, and the Center can play a key role in promoting diversity and inclusion and healthy gaming practices, and identifying opportunities for underrepresented groups as the esports industry expands.” Along with student activities, the EIC will also host events for the local community, including coding and hacking challenges and esports competitions.
Bill Penders, Managing Director, Sector Development, NJEDA notes, “With esports now trending to be the next generation of sports, a wider demographic of people can watch, participate and play,” adds Penders, “The world of esports is already creating a substantial economic impact globally. We’re looking to attract esports companies that see New Jersey as a place to expand their business, tap into the state’s skilled workforce, and help to cultivate the esports ecosystem within the State and across the country.”
“Esports has the potential to have a huge impact on the future of New Jersey so we are excited about having the Esports Innovation Center located on the Stockton Campus in Atlantic City. We look forward to bringing together both public and private partners to help innovate, create workforce development and academic opportunities, and guide the future of esports,” adds Scott Huston, Chief Information Officer at Stockton University. Andrew Weilgus, Executive Director of the Esports Innovation Center at Stockton University, further describes the opportunity, “Last year, esports was second in total sports viewership with 84 million viewers domestically, losing only to football. There is exceptional opportunity for New Jersey, and in particular Atlantic City, in this space and we believe esports is poised to play a growing role in the future of casino gaming.”
Partnering with Edge member, Stockton University, Edge will offer strategic and business planning guidance, startup services for establishment of the non-profit (501c3), and back-office support for the EIC that includes legal, human resources, and financial services. To help deliver a superior esports experience, the EIC uses esports connectivity via EdgeNet. Edge’s high-performance optical fiber network offers high bandwidth, low latency, and highly available connections, with direct peering connections to all major gaming platforms. By taking local esports peering traffic off the commodity internet, EdgeNet minimizes service disruptions and makes real-time gaming and lightning-fast competition possible.
To learn more about the dedicated esports connection via EdgeNet and developing a dynamic esports program, visit https://njedge.net/solutions-overview/network-connectivity-and-internet2/.
AVP for Marketing and Communications, Edge