Rowan University Partners With Nerd Street Gamers to Kick Off Esports Program

by Paige Funk

September 9, 2019 – Rowan University and Nerd Street Gamers, the national network of esports facilities and events dedicated to powering competitive opportunities for gamers, are entering into a unique partnership that will develop into one of the region’s largest collegiate esports gaming and academic programs.

Nerd Street Gamers will invest over $1 million in the construction and development of a 7,500-square-foot gaming facility on Rowan Boulevard in Glassboro that also will include a broadcast studio and other amenities for use in collaboration with the University.

“Esports has evolved well beyond playing games. The most important aspect for Rowan is its academic component,” said Rowan President Ali A. Houshmand. “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.”

Rowan will work collaboratively with Nerd Street Gamers to develop curricula relating to the esports industry, establish internship opportunities and create club and varsity-level teams.

Rowan’s Board of Trustees voted on Wednesday, Sept. 11, to initially allocate $230,000 this academic year to purchase memberships for students to the N3rd Street Gamers network and provide them access to their gaming equipment free of charge.

“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,” said Nerd 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.”

Nerd Street Gamers is an esports network headquartered in Philadelphia. It serves semi-professional, amateur, and competitive gamers by creating social and competitive environments for live competitions and tournaments. The Rowan University facility will be modeled off existing Nerd Street Gamers esports venues in Philadelphia and Denver.

About Esports

According to Deloitte Consulting, it is expected that there will be 600 million esports participants and fans worldwide by 2020. Tournaments are televised nationally and regularly sell out the country’s largest arenas.  

More than 120 varsity collegiate programs are members of the National Association of Collegiate eSports (NACE).

“The esports industry encompasses elements of computer science (programming, video game development), communication (video production, graphic design, broadcasting) and business (sales, event management),” said Rowan Provost Tony Lowman.

“This partnership has come at an opportune time, as the University has already begun incorporating these aspects of esports into existing curricula. Rowan is also creating certificate programs that will provide students and professionals with credentials and training to work in the industry. This partnership allows Rowan the opportunity to develop this even further and translate curriculum into practice,” added Lowman.

Rowan ESports Xtreme Tournament

The University will kick off its esports initiative with a day-long tournament for students enrolled at Rowan University and its Rowan College partner schools on Saturday, Oct. 19. The University is expected to start recruiting for its teams early in the spring semester. 

About Rowan University
Rowan is the 4th fastest growing public research University in the country. Enrollment this fall is 19,600. The NSG facility will be located on Rowan Boulevard, a mixed-use corridor developed through a public-private partnership that features classrooms, restaurants, retail stores, a Barnes & Noble Collegiate Superstore, and a Marriot Courtyard hotel. Rowan Boulevard is home to more than 3,000 students.  

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