“We are really excited to partner with everyone from Parks & Rec… right down to local schools,” said NSG Local Partnerships Manager Taryn McCarty. “But most of all, it’s a safe place for the kids to come in and say, ‘Hey, I’m interested. How can I start to compete in this field? And get those resources and materials that they might not otherwise have been able to get. “
McCarty said she wants The Block to provide increased accessibility to high-end PCs and high-speed internet, which she hopes will remove barriers to entry into the esports world and provide more diversity in a space which is desperately lacking in color. The Block players will either pay by the hour to use NSG’s consoles (PCs cost $ 5 / hour) or pay a subscription service of $ 20 / month.
“There are several colleges that offer scholarships for children,” McCarty said. “So maybe this kid from north Philadelphia who never thought of going to college has a chance to do it, or thinks a little differently about the esports industry in general.”
NSG expects The Block to be open to the public this summer.
Parks & Rec is considering a long-term partnership with NSG, and Commissioner Kathryn Ott Lovell is considering many more esports offerings in the future, including a number of educational opportunities for children to gain more experience. using high-end technology.
“We look forward to working with them to create what is possible with electronic sports and traditional recreation,” she said. “We are one of the first parks and recreation departments to embark on this type of partnership nationwide… I think the sky is the limit when it comes to what we can do for the youth of Philadelphia. . “
Electronic sports and games have rapidly grown in popularity in recent years, transforming into a global industry for high value entertainment around the world. It is expected to be worth over $ 1.5 billion in just a few short years, thanks to exploding investments in esports like NSG’s. Game-specific streaming platforms like YouTube Gaming and Twitch allow fans a direct connection with players and teams.
Many specific details of the partnership between NSG and Parks & Rec are still being worked out, but they plan to release more official announcements in the coming months.