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Nonprofit launches to promote esports in Pennsylvania

A Harrisburg-based nonprofit organization has been formed to help grow the budding esports industry in Pennsylvania.

The Pennsylvania Esports Coalition launched this week and named its initial board of directors.

The coalition said its primary goals are to advocate, educate and promote the new industry where people play video games competitively.

Harrisburg University of Science and Technology is among the recent adopters of esports in Central Pennsylvania.

The university is a member of the National Association of Collegiate Esports, and is now offering esports as the university’s first varsity sport. The HU program will launch for fall 2018.

Meanwhile, Lebanon Valley College began competing in esports this spring.

“This is an exciting time for those involved in esports,” said Bill Thomas, chairman of the coalition’s board of directors. “Competitive video gaming has been around for a while, but to see this industry explode over the last few years is electrifying. Our coalition will be out in front, advocating for positive public policies, rules and regulations that will allow this industry to continue to grow, while ensuring integrity and safety for those involved.”

The coalition has hired Nick “Megatron_rox8190” Kratz, an avid amateur gamer, who works as a government relations professional for Capital Associates in Harrisburg, to serve as the coalition’s executive director.

Kratz said the organization will help groups and individuals to make connections and building relationships in the industry, as well as encourage collaboration between stakeholders.

The full list of board members includes:

  • Chairman Bill Thomas, who is president of Mid-Atlantic Strategic Solutions LLC
  • John Fazio, CEO, N3rd Street Gamers and chairman, Jarvus Innovations
  • Bob Ancharski, director of events and ticketing at the Whitaker Center
  • Rob “Immortal Spawn” Ambrose, developer, Trick Strat Esports Drawing App and owner, Ambrose Gaming
  • Thomas “Choppaz” Yantis, amateur gamer and senior at Bishop McDevitt High School
  • Dave Feidt, senior associate, Community Networking Resources

Harrisburg-based McNees Wallace & Nurick LLC is the coalition’s legal adviser. Community Networking Resources is a McNees subsidiary that focuses on government affairs and issues advocacy for business clients.

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