SCHENECTADY -- A local esports league has found its home at Urban Co-Works on State Street, according to the league’s founder.
Jide Osipitan, CEO of Gaming Insomniacs, and Urban Co-Works CEO Jeff Goronkin announced the move on Monday. There is even a pre-season game that is already scheduled at the co-working facility on Jan. 26.
Goronkin said that his co-working facility would be able to accommodate something like Osipitan’s esports league, which is where people play multiplayer video games in front of crowds as a form of competition.
“They were interested in locating in Schenectady,” Goronkin said. “When they saw our space, it made perfect sense. We already have the infrastructure to support this type of event.”
A co-working facility provides a shared work space, allowing small businesses and individuals to rent space in an office setting.
Goronkin said the league will utilize a 5,000-square-foot space in the facility that has bleachers that separate the 4th and 5th floors of the building. They also have a large screen with a rear view projector, along with TVs on both sides of the room and surround sound.
“It’s the perfect mix for eSsports and for any kind of esports event,” Goronkin said.
Osipitan said he had been looking for a venue for the competitions since he started his league last year in Amsterdam. There aren’t too many options on the East Coast, Osipitan said. He also said many esports events would have to be done in larger venues like stadiums or arenas.
Osipitan said he knew he wouldn’t be able to fill those sort of spaces. He needed something that would fit a startup esports league.
“I walked into the space up at Jeff’s and said this is perfect,” Osipitan said. “It was exactly what I was looking for.”
Osipitan, an Amsterdam resident who moved to the Capital Region from Nigeria when he was 12, said he had always wanted to be a professional gamer. Having a wife and kids, though, didn’t exactly lend itself to having a successful career in gaming.
The prospect of being a business owner was also something Osipitan dreamed of doing. So, he decided to combine both of his passions.
Osipitan said he spent four years developing the gaming league, and that it wasn’t until August of last year that he decided to move forward with it.
It wasn’t until Osipitan met with Goronkin that he said he was able to put putting his ideas down on paper.
“[Goronkin] believed in us from the very beginning, which made a huge impact,” Osipitan said. ‘It made a huge difference.”
Osipitan said he held a scrimmage in November, which essentially served as a tryout for the league.
It started with 100 players who signed up for the scrimmage, which Osipitan said he was able to whittle down to a group approximately 60 players. Those players were then placed into 12 different teams, Osipitan said.
The Jan. 26 preseason game will serve as a warmup to the league. The season, Osipitan said, will end in April. At that point, he said 8 of the 12 teams will enter into the playoffs and will compete for a championship trophy. Osipitan also said the season will feature an all-star competition, similar to what is seen in professional football or professional basketball, that will serve as a celebration of the season.
The gaming facility will be open 7 nights a week. But league play will only occur on the weekends, Osipitan said. Teams will be able to use weekdays as practice days.
Osipitan said those interested in playing in the league can contact him through Gaming Insomniacs' various social media platforms, including Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. He also said interest people can visit the company’s website at gaminginsomniacs.com to contact him.
Players will be charged a one-time fee of $10 to scrimmage, which Osipitan said they will use as tryout to see if people are good enough to play. They will then pay an administrative fee which would cover the cost of a jersey and other items.
Tickets for the event are $10 and can be purchased on the ticketing website Eventbrite. People will also be able to purchase season tickets there for $200.