PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- During the coronavirus pandemic, there's been a major boom in the popularity of esports.
Nerd Street Gamers just built a complex on North Broad Street this fall, hoping to make Philadelphia the east coast esports hub.
In a first of its kind move, they're now partnering with Philadelphia Parks & Recreation to provide access to kids all over the city, starting with a big, free citywide tournament next month.
"With esports, it's really a way for them to stay engaged during the pandemic when maybe traditional sports aren't around," says Benjamin Schlegel, vice president of events for Nerd Street Gamers. "You see a lot of the same things we would see in traditional sports where there's competition involved and it takes skill, just like anything else."
The tournament kicks off February 16.
It's a six-week NBA 2K21 series that's free to enter for kids 13-18.
Anyone who registers gets a free 3-month subscription to Nerd Street Gaming.
Philadelphia Parks & Recreation says it's been a hard year for kids, and they want to be on the forefront of this here in Philadelphia.
"Our mission is to provide kids with safe activities and opportunities to recreate and to be active," says Kathryn Ott Lovell, the Philadelphia Parks & Recreation commissioner. "But not just to be active physically, but to be active mentally and socially. This is not just for recreation, this is a pathway to an industry that could be a career for these kids."
Contestants will play at home because of the pandemic
The goal is to make this free and open to everyone, knowing that not every kid has the means or the access.
256 participants can register now.
Click here for details.
Philadelphia hosts free esports tournament for teens