Toronto-based GameSquare Esports announces collaboration with Nevada-based Black Fire Innovation

Black Fire’s partners include Caesars Entertainment Inc. and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas Office of Economic Development

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      A Canadian Securities Exchange–listed company hopes to forge stronger cross-border links between academia and the growing esports industry.

      GameSquare Esports Inc. plans to do this in a new alliance with Black Fire Innovation, which is a partnership of Caesars Entertainment Inc. and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas Office of Economic Development.

      The collaboration centres around the Gaming Community Network, which is part of the GameSquare Group of Companies. 

      As part of the new arrangement, the Gaming Community Network will be “producing collegiate esports tournaments, hosting and coaching content creators, and developing curriculum as part of a master class series for students to gain real-world insights within the gaming and esports industry”, according to a GameSquare Esports news release.

      The Gaming Community Network says that it reaches more than 65 million monthly users in the U.S. and more than 115 monthly users globally.

      “The collaboration between Black Fire Innovation and GCN is expected to further esports innovation to create more opportunities and collaboration in the broader video gaming industry,” Gaming Community Network vice president of partnerships and alliance Drew Brunson said in a news release.

      Brunson is an alumnus of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, as well as a long-time supporter of Black Fire Innovation.

      The Gaming Community Network already has a partnership with Van Wagner Sports and Entertainment. Through this, it recently produced the first Collegiate Esports Invitational, featuring Fortnite.

      In this tournament, colleges and universities from ten NCAA conferences competed at Black Fire Innovation. A team from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County won the national prize.

      “One of the missions of Black Fire Innovation is to advance the hospitality and gaming space as we know it today through creativity, entrepreneurship, and the acceleration of new technologies,” said Bo Bernhard, executive director of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas International Gaming Institute and interim associate vice president of the university’s Office of Economic Development. “GCN is an emerging thought leader in the global esports community, and we are delighted to collaborate with them at Black Fire Innovation.”

      GameSquare Esports stock closed at $0.43 on the Canadian Securities Exchange on June 28. The company is worth $23.35 million.

      Its president and CEO, Justin Kenna, is the former chief financial officer of FaZe Clan. And GameSquare Esports head of European operations, Jan Neumeister, was also formerly with FaZeClan and City Football group.

      The company’s core asset is Code Red, a U.K.-based esports talent agency.

      In its most recent quarterly financial report, GameSquare Esports reported revenues of just over $1 million and a comprehensive loss of $572,977. It had $1.74 million in assets, including $1.13 million in cash, and $2.2 million in liabilities.