NFL athletes, professional esports players and amateur gamers will be teaming up next year in Atlantic City to compete in a first-of-its-kind esports tournament.
DEEM Enterprises and World Champion Fantasy will host a two-day, family-friendly esports competition at Jim Whelan Boardwalk Hall in January 2024. While esports betting in New Jersey is allowed, it remains unclear if regulators will clear this particular event.
JuJu Smith-Schuster, Marquise “Hollywood” Brown and Kurt Benkert are among the NFL athletes expected to participate.
The event will feature live entertainment, celebrity appearances, musical performances and immersive experiences, according to a joint press release. The event’s organizers expect to live-stream the esports tournament, which will “bring together thousands in person and virtually.”
Vroom, vroom and esports in Atlantic City
DEEM currently holds a memorandum of understanding with Atlantic City for the $2.7 billion Renaissance at Bader Field project. WCF developed an esports platform called PlayerX, which will take center stage during the Atlantic City competition.
The exact dates of the tournament have not been announced. The companies said they will release more information soon.
In the press release, Erick Feitshans, CEO of DEEM, recognized that the industry evolved into “a unique confluence” of fan-first immersive experiences and entertainment coverage, “where pro athlete meets amateur, digital intersects with in-real-life (IRL), and motorsport blends with esports.
“DEEM stands at this crossroads, poised to lead. Partnering with WCF and leveraging PlayerX, we’re amplifying Atlantic City’s distinct offerings and past legacies with the innovative future of Renaissance at Bader Field. Our collaboration is set to elevate these dynamic intersections into the global spotlight through an unmatched event experience.”
The Atlantic City City Council and Mayor Marty Small Sr. agreed to an MOU with DEEM in March 2023 for Renaissance at Bader Field. The proposal calls for a mixed-use development aimed at motorsports enthusiasts, complete with upscale housing, retail outlets, park spaces and a 2.4-mile raceway.
“The Renaissance at Bader Field project is more than a redevelopment; it’s a catalyst for transformation, and for the future of Atlantic City,” Feitshans said recently.
‘Eye on Atlantic City’ says WCF chief
WCF is a tech company behind PlayerX, which it says “combines live video and data to offer an immersive esports experience.” PlayerX enables users to assemble a team of esports athletes to compete, watch live streams, review stats and analyze the performance of their favorite teams and players, according to WCF.
Mike Vela, WCF founder and CEO, said the AC esports event will be “electric.” He added that the company has always kept an eye on Atlantic City – “the perfect location to host esports competitions and draw on passionate individuals from the vast Southern New Jersey and Philadelphia metro areas.”
“PlayerX has the ability to unite people – from the amateur to the professional to the NFL athlete, all of whom share that same passion for playing esports. PlayerX balances everyone’s abilities by providing the right tools for a player to win or watch. Hosting our first event with DEEM in Atlantic City will showcase this physically and virtually.”