A six-month-old nonprofit organization formed to promote Pennsylvania’s fast-growing esports industry has added telecommunications giant AT&T to its membership ranks.
The Harrisburg-based Pennsylvania Esports Coalition announced the addition on Monday, giving the organization 14 members since launching in June.
Chairman Bill Thomas called AT&T’s decision to join a watershed moment for the coalition and said it shows the growing interest in gaming among businesses across Pennsylvania. The coalition’s primary goals are to advocate, educate and promote the industry, in which people play video games competitively.
“We are elated to have one of the world’s largest companies as a member of our coalition as we continue to gain momentum advocating for all aspects of the industry in Pennsylvania,” Thomas said. “AT&T is an iconic company with a global brand, so this is a significant moment for the coalition. To have their representatives in Pennsylvania recognize our efforts and the importance of what we are doing for the industry is beyond exciting. It means we are making an impact.”
AT&T also is the official telecommunications and mobile gaming partner of ESL North America, the largest independent esports company.
“We jumped at the chance to join the coalition in part because they’re ahead of the game,” said David Kerr, regional vice president of external affairs for AT&T. “PA ESC is the first organization of its kind in the country, and we wanted to be early members. They’re already looking ahead at the many issues that impact this fast-evolving, fast-growing area of technology and entertainment.”
Pennsylvania is home to several esports teams and events.
Harrisburg University of Science and Technology and Lebanon Valley College are among the recent adopters of esports in Central Pennsylvania. In September, HU hosted the largest collegiate esports tournament to date, with 32 teams competing in League of Legends, a multiplayer battle-arena video game, and Overwatch, a team-based multiplayer video game.
“It makes sense for AT&T to be active in the competitive entertainment ecosystem because they sit at the crossroads of developing the technology for people to play competitively and delivering the entertainment content to the public,” Thomas said. “Competitive entertainment continues to evolve, and mobile gaming continues to grow as well. There are issues that directly impact the esports industry and companies like AT&T, so the company’s membership is a natural fit.”
Membership in the coalition is based on membership type. General membership is $5,000 per year, while affiliate members pay $2,000 per year. AT&T joined as a general member.