Rowan University, N3rd Street Gamers partner to develop esports gaming program

Rowan University and Philadelphia-based N3rd Street Gamers, a network of electronic sports facilities and events, announced on Wednesday they have partnered to develop collegiate esports gaming and academic programs.

Under the partnership, N3rd Street Gamers will invest more than $1 million to construct and develop a 7,500-square-foot gaming facility with a broadcast studio and other amenities. It will be located within the university on Rowan Boulevard in Glassboro, a mixed-used corridor developed through a public-private partnership that features classrooms, restaurants, retail, a Barnes & Noble Collegiate Superstore and a Marriot Couryard hotel.

“Esports has evolved well beyond playing games. The most important aspect for Rowan is its academic component,” Rowan President Ali A. Houshmand said. “It will offer our students hands-on training — via internships — and knowledge in a variety of fields that will prepare them to become leaders in technology, engineering, business, computer programming and even broadcasting as it applies to this emerging industry.”

A curriculum related to the esports industry will also be established as well as internship opportunities and club- and varsity-level teams.

The school said its board of trustees voted to allocate $230,000 this academic year to buy memberships for students to N3rd’s network and provide them access to N3rd gaming equipment for free.

“Gaming is no longer just a form of entertainment. There are legitimate careers to pursue within this industry, but the paths aren’t always clear,” N3rd Street Gamers CEO John Fazio. “This premier esports facility will give Rowan University students and the surrounding community the opportunity to learn both technical and professional skills that will benefit them for the rest of their lives.”

The esports initiative will be kicked off by a day-long gaming tournament for Rowan University and Rowan College students on Saturday, Oct. 19.