Ryan Howard’s First Big Investment: eSports

The former Phillies slugger has found a second career—as a venture capitalist.

John Fazio, Ryan Howard and Wayne Kimmel. | Photo courtesy of SeventySix Capital

Ryan Howard knows a thing or two about sports. The hulking St. Louis native hit 382 home runs in his 13-year career with the Phillies and was even still knocking around in the minors this past season, hoping for another shot in the big leagues. (We’d prefer that he retire in red pinstripes.)

When he’s not swinging for the fences, Howard is hoping to hit it big with SeventySix Capital — the Radnor-based venture capital firm that he joined last May. It’s only fitting that the slugger’s first big splash with SeventySix Capital is an investment in sports … well, eSports that is.

Howard, along with partners Wayne Kimmel and Jon Powell, announced on Wednesday their firm’s strategic investment in N3rd Street Gamers (NSG) — a Philly eSports company founded in 2009 that provides the gaming community with arena facilities, production studios, equipment and broadcast services.

“There’s no denying that eSports are rapidly growing in popularity,” Howard said in a release. “Events and leagues are now broadcast to tens of millions of viewers online and on traditional television.”

With the investment, NSG will expand their existing arena Localhost (908a N. 3rd Street) and build more locations throughout the country. SeventySix Capital did not disclose the dollar amount of its contribution to NSG.

“As the success of leagues continue, the eSports industry desperately needs infrastructure like N3rd Street Gamers and Localhost for players to practice, compete and succeed,” said Kimmel, SeventySix Capital’s managing partner.

“I want to thank our loyal gaming communities here in Philadelphia and the surrounding region for getting us to where we are today, and our partners at SeventySix Capital for their confidence and investment, which will allow us to deliver our unique experiences to people all over the country,” said John Fazio, CEO of NSG.

Follow @jtrinacria on Twitter.