The Esports Capital of the US? Atlanta's Claim
Cities will discover that esports is a powerful engine for regional economic development, youth education, and positive social impact.
Here's an overview of the broad esports ecosystem and assets we have developed in Metro Atlanta thanks to decades of industry, partner, policy, and community support!
Healthy Consumer Market?
- Atlanta is the #1 ranked city for consumer gaming environment
Local Game Developers and Publishers?
- Hi-Rez Studios: Smite, Paladins, Rogue Company, more
- Blue Mammoth | Ubisoft: Brawlhalla
- Tripwire: Chivalry 2, Maneater, Killing Floor, Red Orchestra, more
- Over 150 other game development studios across the state of Georgia, with industry coordination and support from the Georgia Game Developers Association (GGDA)
- $900M annual economic impact from the video-game industry in the state of Georgia
- 12,000 direct and indirect Digital Entertainment jobs in the state of Georgia
Professional Esports Teams?
- Atlanta Reign: Overwatch
- Atlanta FaZe: Call of Duty (2021 World Champion)
- Ghost Gaming: Fortnite, Rocket League, Valorant
- Hawks Talon: NBA 2K
- Atlanta United: FIFA (2022 eMLS Champion)
- SMITE Teams: Over 30 salaried pro players in Atlanta across the teams in the Smite Pro League
Endemic gaming peripherals and merchandise?
- Scuf Gaming/Corsair: Customized & performance-based console controllers
- KontrolFreek/SteelSeries: Gaming peripherals
- Skullz: Esports jerseys, performance apparel, and merchandise
- Microsoft: Multiple large data centers and the recent purchase of 90-acres at Quarry Yards put Atlanta on the path to become Microsoft’s largest hub in the US outside of Silicon Valley and Puget Sound
- Google: 150,000 square feet in midtown with intent to expand the office over the next several years
Structure for Youth Esports Competition and Education?
- Scholastic Esports in K-12 statewide is facilitated and supported via the non-profit Georgia Scholastic Esports Foundation (GSEF)
- Education standards: Georgia was the first state to have a Department of Education approved Esports Standard for high school
- High School: Esports is recognized as a varsity sport by the Georgia High School Association and Georgia was one of the first five states to implement state-sanctioned high school esports.
- College: Esports is recognized as a varsity college sport with teams and scholarships at Georgia State and other local universities. Over 20 universities participate in the Georgia Esports League
- Georgia has 2.1 million square feet in purpose-built stage space and 3.2 million in retrofitted stage and dedicated warehouse space
- The Film & TV industry spent a record $4B in Georgia in the past 12 months! Despite the pandemic, there were 366 productions safely filmed in Georgia -- including 21 feature films, 45 independent films, 222 television and episodic productions, 57 commercials, and 21 music videos.
- Recent Georgia-lensed productions include Disney+ and Marvel Studio's "WandaVision," "Loki", and "The Falcon and the Winter Soldier", movies like Warner Bros "The Suicide Squad", HBO's "Lovecraft County", Amazon's The Underground Railroad", Netflix's "Ozark" and "Stranger Things", and the 11th & final season of "The Walking Dead".
- Growth in virtual sets (aka production pipeline used for "The Mandalorian") including LED-stage virtual production, extended reality (XR) stages, and real-time 4K virtual sets using Unreal Engine.
- New production centers (aka Skillshot Media) have been purpose-built for the specific needs of esports content production and live esports events
- State of Georgia transferable tax credit for game development
- State of Georgia transferable tax credit for production including film & tv and the nation’s best tax credit for esports broadcasting
- Atlanta has the nation’s highest growth of graduates earning technology-focused degrees
- Computer Science is required to be taught in high school. Exploratory computer science course required in middle schools (Senate Bill 108)
- Undergraduates: Georgia State awards the most bachelor degrees to African Americans in the US
- Engineering Specific: Georgia Tech awards the most engineering degrees to people of color in the US
- Atlanta University Center: nation's largest consortium of HBCUs
- Pharaoh’s Conclave: Using esports to create pathways for meaningful careers and wealth generation for Black and Brown youth
Esports Trained Workforce?
- In 2019, the University System of Georgia approved college standards, curriculum, and certification in Digital Media, Gaming, and Esports, delivered by the Georgia Film Academy in cooperation with Skillshot Media
- 21 colleges in the state currently offer game development related degrees
- In 2021 the Georgia Department of Education approved state-wide standards for esports curriculum (as an elective) in high school
Venues for Gaming, Team Bootcamps, Fan Meet & Greets?
- MANY, including Axis Replay, Battle & Brew, Skillshot Media, 404 Gaming, Joystick Gamebar, VS Realm Esports, Epic PC Lounge, VR1 Gaming, PLAYlive Nation,
Too many initiatives to list but a few illustrative examples include:
- Cxmmunity: Georgia-based non-profit committed to increasing the participation of minorities in esports and gaming through STEAM development. Operates the HBCU Esports League in partnership with Twitch.TV
- Make-A-Wish Georgia: Extended partnership with local game publishers and esports communities raising money throughout the year to help Wish Kids in Georgia and to grant gaming & esports related wishes
- Cov-Aid Event: Atlanta esports community joined with Gronk, Ninja, Lil Jon, Waka Flocka, Rascal Flatts, and over 100 other celebrities, athletes, musicians, and gaming influencers for a live-streamed gaming event raising money for COVID-19 relief
- Gamers.Vote @ InvitationATL: Atlanta esports community leverages gaming & live-streaming to help Georgians participate in democracy -- including an online voter registration drive to register tens of thousand directly from Twitch.TV
- NASEF: This global non-profit, based in Georgia, is the leading scholastic esports solution for K-12 students, with local affiliates across the US and in 11 other countries. The NASEF mission: Provide opportunities for ALL students to use esports as a platform to acquire critical communication, collaboration, and problem-solving skills needed to thrive in work and in life.
Convenient Destination For Live Events?
- Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport is the busiest airport in the US (and in a typical non-Covid year, the world)
- With non-stop service to more than 220 destination cities, Atlanta is the single easiest destination to reach for both competitors and fans
- There are 170,000 hotel rooms in the state and 25,000 hotel rooms in the Atlanta area.
- There is hospitality capacity to host the biggest events in traditional sports as demonstrated by hosting the Olympics, multiple Super Bowls, the College Football National Championship, the NCAA Basketball Final Four, and many others. These venues and hospitality assets are leveraged for large global gaming events as well.
History of Events & Attendance?
Annual live gaming events include:
- Spring: MomoCon since 2005. ~39,000 attend
- Summer: DragonCon since 1987. ~70,000 attend
- Fall: Dreamhack Atlanta (& B2B Esports Summit) since 2017. ~39,000 attend
- Winter: Smite World Championship since 2015. ~4,000 attend
Esports Event Recruiting and Turnkey Hosting?
- The Atlanta Sports Council is the nation’s first sports commission to recognize esports by creating the Atlanta Esports Alliance (www.atlantaesportsalliance.com), a coalition to facilitate the growth and development of esports in the region.
- The AEA recruits and can host major regional, national and international esports events.
- Contact AEA if you are interested in hosting an esports event in our region, partnering with the many existing large esports properties here, or investing in the rapid growth of gaming & esports.