Nerd Street moving forward with esports venue at Albright College
by Brian Bencomo
Nerd Street is moving forward with its plans to create a new state-of-the-art collegiate esports facility at Albright College in partnership with Playfly Esports. The venue will be located at the corner of 13th and Richmond Streets, in the College Heights neighborhood of Reading, Pennsylvania and is projected to open in 2024.
“We are thrilled about this partnership and the expanded athletic and academic opportunities that it brings to Albright’s students,” said Albright President Jacquelyn S. Fetrow, Ph.D. “Not only will it be a catalyst for our popular varsity esports team, it will inspire synergies with our computer science department, enhance our game and simulation major, and provide hands-on learning experiences for K-12 Total Experience Learning students and others interested in the esports industry. This will be a welcoming, exciting new venue for the surrounding community.”
“With these investments, Albright College is firmly establishing itself as a preeminent esports program in the region. The meaningful implementation of more events & programs will help create a pipeline for students who are keen on making a career in the burgeoning gaming industry and related fields,” said Playfly Esports Head of Sales & Marketing and Berks County native, Charles O’Donnell.
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The new 6,800 square foot esports venue will be available to not just the college but the local community too -- from casual gamers to high school teams and esports tournament organizers. The new venue will include 60 gaming stations, a 5 vs. 5 stage for competitions, a café, team room and offices. MPG Impact Development will design and develop the property.
In addition to classrooms and private rooms for Albright College’s esports teams, the new venue will serve as a fully functioning Nerd Street Localhost. These gaming venues provide the highest quality gaming equipment and peripherals, including PCs, consoles, keyboards, headphones and more. With locations across the country, Nerd Street’s Localhosts provide critical infrastructure for the gaming community. These venues are the sites of weekly programming and camps for local communities and national tournaments for aspiring esports pros.
The announcement comes a couple weeks after Nerd Street opened its first esports and gaming venue on a college campus at Rowan University in Southern New Jersey.
“We’re excited to continue our national rollout to develop the collegiate esports scene with our second partner school, Albright College, to develop a state-of-the-art esports facility that will house their school’s team, provide advanced education opportunities to their students, and be a hub for innovation in the surrounding community,” said Nerd Street CEO John Fazio.
Nerd Street is committed to growing esports at the collegiate level, and the venue at Albright College is the latest example of the company’s support for collegiate esports. In March, Nerd Street announced a partnership with Temple University that made Localhost in Philadelphia the home of Temple’s esports teams. In December, Localhost in Philadelphia hosted the NACE Starleague Fall Finals, which crowned champions in seven different esports in NACE’s top collegiate league. Nerd Street provides ongoing support for aspiring collegiate esports pros to develop their skills through Nerd Street camps.
Nerd Street and Playfly Esports are known for launching the largest collegiate esports league in the world, NACE Starleage, with nearly 20,000 students and 800 schools participating during the 2022-23 school year, of which Albright College’s esports team is a member.
Esports have been varsity sports at Albright since 2019, and the school currently has teams competing in Overwatch 2, League of Legends and Rocket League. Last summer, Albright received a $500,000 grant from the state of Pennsylvania for its esports project.
Lead photo credit: Nerd Street / Albright