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Flyers’ Ownership Invests in Amateur Esports Group N3rd Street Gamers


Comcast Spectacor, the owner of the NHL’s Philadelphia Flyers and the Overwatch League’s Philadelphia Fusion, announced a strategic investment in amateur esports network N3rd Street Gamers on Wednesday.

Philadelphia-based N3rd Street Gamers stages in-person esports competitions for amateurs and semi-professional players and has significant backing from SeventySix Capital, a sports tech venture capital firm. SeventySix Capital partners Wayne Kimmel and Ryan Howard first made the announcement from the stage of their keynote talk at Hashtag Sports, a conference for innovative sports business.

In an interview, Kimmel hailed the announcement as “a major deal for us” in helping create an infrastructure for esports player development in the U.S.

“It’s a major accelerant for the business,” Kimmel said. “We recognized that you have the professional ranks, but where are the Little Leagues? Where are the AAU programs? Where are the high school programs?”

Howard is a former Phillies star. He slugged 382 career home runs, was named 2006 National League MVP, and helped win the 2008 World Series. He said there are clear parallels between traditional pro athletes and esports athletes.

“They’re training,” he said of esports gamers. “You have to be of sound mind and sound body to be able to go out there and perform. It’s an investment in these guys the same way that, when I was playing baseball, the team would invest in us having good meals so we’re eating the right stuff.”

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Both Howard and Kimmel emphasized the international scope of esports. Howard said esports could join the top tier of major pro sports. Kimmel likened the opportunity to soccer in the U.S. a few decades ago.

“Soccer has been so big outside the U.S.,” Kimmel said. “About 30-plus years ago [in the U.S.], they started building the amateur ranks. They started building the fan base. We see the same thing happening with esports today.”

Kimmel noted the need for more content around esports competitions to help fans get to know the athletes. N3rd Street Gamers’ event-driven approach aims to address that, and this new partnership should help with venues and distribution. Comcast Spectacor also owns the Flyers’ home venue, Wells Fargo Arena, and is a subsidiary of Comcast Corporation, the global media giant.

“We believe there’s this convergence between the physical and the digital world,” Kimmel said.



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