The state of North Carolina has established a $5 million Esports Industry Grant Fund for esports competitions, with grants paying up to 20 percent of qualifying expenses for competitions.
The grant is focused on competitions costing at least $250,000 with the grants reimbursing in-state goods, services, compensation and benefits. The state department of commerce issue grants over the next five years as part of the bill that was supported by the Greater Raleigh Esports Local Organizing Committee and Subnation Media.
“This is not just about the esports competition and the game play, it’s really about the opportunity to get all generations and groups involved in education and technology, and really fostering that as a way that we build a world-class workforce for the future and higher paying jobs for everybody,” said State Rep. Jason Saine. “When you think about recruitment of esports productions and events, what this program allows us to do is showcase not only our state, but also win a lot of business that we wouldn’t have secured otherwise.”
Saine said earlier this year that he authored the bill after attending the Fortnite World Cup event in 2019 that was held at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York. “It occurred to me at that time that this is a lot bigger than I ever imagined,” he said. “The fact that we would go and literally sit in a stadium to watch kids win $30 million was pretty impressive.”
Esports is a growing industry in North Carolina. Epic Games, the publishers of Fortnite, is based in Cary, with plans to move its headquarters to a new 87-acre project in the city by 2024. Raleigh has also committed to the industry, launching an esports local organizing committee that includes a diverse group of civic, sports and business leaders interested in attracting more esports events to the region.
Notable events hosted in North Carolina include the PUBG 2020 Mobile Global Qualifiers, the 2021 XP League National Finals, the Carolina Gaming Summit, and the Halo Championship Series Kickoff scheduled for December.