Nerd Street Gamers and Five Below have teamed up to open esports facilities at three of the discount stores in Georgetown, Texas; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; and St. Louis, Missouri. These locations are part of a pilot program to test the operation of Nerd Street Localhost facilities at Five Below stores, the announcement of which came following Five Below’s participation in a convertible note fundraising round of US $ 5.4 million, Nerd Street raised in July. Nerd Street Gamers vice president and chief of staff Pete Powell told the Sports Business Journal that his goal with these facilities is to create an accessible option for children to participate in competitive games. He explained that in many areas esports is actually a sport of privilege. Not all kids, or school teams, have access to a $ 2K gaming computer required for some esports titles. Powell hopes these facilities will allow children to grow acclimated not only to the high-end equipment, but also to competitive play as a whole, eventually to travel to other Localhost venues for larger regional or national tournaments. The younger demographic that Five Below is able to access is also a draw for the partnership. Powell said that for most Localhost locations, the demographics tend to lean more toward young teens or college-aged competitors. Five Below is a chain that attracts younger children with discounted toys and candy. Setting up a boutique in a store for young children also gives Nerd Street access to another hugely important demographic: parents. “Connecting with mom and dad is the thing that we try to accomplish more than anything because we are all aware of the stigma associated with video games,” said Powell. “A lot of parents say the last thing they want to see is when their son or daughter is watching TV for 10 hours playing Fortnite.” In his initial announcement of the partnership, Nerd Street stated his desire to expand the program to more Five Below sites in the future. Powell said part of that process will be building a community within these pilot stores that the younger generation wants to come and compete with. “If we see a lot of young kids showing up and showing interest in playing these games competitively, I think the proof will be in the pudding, because then that twelve year old will potentially become a Localhost customer for the rest of his life. We want to grow with young players. We want to do a lot more than give them the ability to play video games. We want to give them the opportunity to compete, to make friends.