NFL legends Steve Young and Jerry Rice, along with Super Bowl 55, is helping a Tampa nonprofit build an esports arena for disadvantaged youth. The Skills Center uses activities like sports to “enhance leadership and boost futures.” With esports continuing to experience growth, more and more kids are looking to technology to build their future.
Steve Young and Jerry Rice donated $200,000 to the Skills Center as part of a Super Bowl mission to help a program in the host’s city. Now, the Skills Center can help kids both inside and out with a combination of sports and esports activities. The new 8 to 80 Zone esports facility is set to open this summer.
“Jerry and I believe that parents of youth who are passionate about gaming should take time to understand the learning potential and opportunities that esports brings,” said Steve Young in a press release. “Gaming and the competitive esports world provides a stepping stone into coding, publishing, and mass media art. We as parents should embrace this.”
“The NFL Foundation is proud to support Steve and Jerry in this venture that will provide a multitude of opportunities for students in both esports and STEM,” added Alexia Gallagher, the NFL’s Vice President of Philanthropy and Executive Director of the NFL Foundation. ” We know the 8 to 80 esports arena will positively impact youth in the Florida community for years to come.”
“The challenge for us will be balancing the gameplay along with the programming, life skills and educational portions,” said Derek Watford, Co-Founder at High Point Gamer, a Florida-based esports consultant agency that offers expertise in areas like brand management, content creation, tournament production, and facility design. Watford will be part of the team to build the arena. While esports will play a major focus of the kids that attend, the space will also act as a classroom that will provide students with hands-on training in broadcast production, online streaming, audio engineering, video editing, and game development. In a world embracing virtual learning, the arena will give students resources to help them succeed.