Written by Kevin Volz.
Thirty-five years ago cable television saw a colossal shift when the Entertainment and Sports Programming Network was launched. The juggernaut we now know simply as ESPN was introduced as a 24-hour sports junkie’s dream – one channel dedicated solely to the world of athletics. The channel was wildly successful and has only grown in popularity since. Now, in 2015, we’re on the verge of a new twist on the concept, only the focus this time is on competitive video gaming.
A Toledo company called RTGN (Real Time Gaming Network) is on the cutting edge. They are the world’s first 24-hour e-sport broadcasting network to have an online and mobile platform. The service allows fans and players alike to watch competitions among the best of the video game community from the comfort of their own homes, using a unique digital video streaming service. On January 16, RTGN hosted its first beta test tournament to wild success. With an initial goal of 20 players and 500 unique viewers, founder Tim Fields was blown away when 60 players were featured and an average of 1,400 viewers were streaming the competition online at any one time, exceeding their goal by almost 300 percent.
“The turnout was very impressive since we’re not well known yet, so to have that many people watching at any one time is amazing,” said Tim Fields, CEO of RTGN.
RTGN is a startup out of the LaunchPad Incubation Program at The University of Toledo. LaunchPad’s goal is to create companies in northwest Ohio that are investable, scalable and sustainable. The incubator provides intensive entrepreneurial assistance including access to area marketing firms, state-of-the-art facilities, intellectual property, legal counsel and other valuable resources to early-stage, technology-based startup companies. It is funded through Ohio Third Frontier, with support from the University of Toledo.
“Ohio Third Frontier is the conduit for us to accomplish entrepreneurship and innovation in our region,” said Molly Reams Thompson, director of LPI. “We provide the physical facilities that our different startups utilize and they provide the services and funding.”
In northwest Ohio, Rocket Ventures is the Ohio Third Frontier umbrella organization for programs like LaunchPad Incubation. Since its founding in 2007, Rocket Ventures has helped technology companies in the region achieve over $250 million in investments, sales revenue and other income.
Ohio Third Frontier is a $2.1 billion economic development initiative supporting technology entrepreneurship and growing jobs across the state. Through a statewide network of resources, entrepreneurs have access to the technology, business assistance, capital and talent needed to turn great ideas into thriving companies. Ohio Third Frontier is driving this expanding, vibrant community of high-growth technology companies, and making Ohio a leading destination for entrepreneurs.