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PITTSBURGH (June 10, 2022) – The Pittsburgh Knights professional esports organization announced today the launch of a new Knights Gaming Zone as part of the team’s “City of Champions” educational initiative in celebration of Juneteenth.  Team sponsors Zenni Gaming, Boost Gaming, HyperX, Invstr and Sheetz have provided support for the initiative, along with foundation partners’ The Heinz Endowments and POISE Foundation.

The new Gaming Zone is located at the House of Manna (7240 Frankstown Ave.) in the Homewood community.  It joins the inaugural Gaming Zone at YouthPlaces Downtown (1037 Penn Ave.) in the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, which opened earlier this year in February.  

A grassroots youth development initiative, the Knights City of Champions program is committed to inspiring digital literacy by engaging youth from various backgrounds through esports events, STEM learning, and workforce training opportunities. The belief is gaming can be a path to boost computer and media skills, create community, foster competitive drive, and, ultimately, build a brighter, more equitable future.

House of Manna’s new Gaming Zone location will be equipped with Xbox consoles, ASUS Monitors and HyperX gaming peripherals.  Eventually, the Knights hope to have a total of five Gaming Zones located throughout the Pittsburgh-area.

LEARN MORE ABOUT THE City of Champions Program

This program goes far beyond chatting with friends online and playing video games,” says Knights president James O’Connor.  “It’s about creating connections and online communities, and bringing people together through the power of technology, which is key to building understanding during these uncertain times.

Gaming can be a powerful tool to bring together the local community, adds O’Connor.  It provides opportunities to bond socially, drives greater digital literacy, and hopefully builds a brighter, more equitable future for all.

Like YouthPlaces, House of Manna will offer weekly esports instruction and monthly tournaments organized by  the Knights. 

Students attending the launch of the new Homewood Gaming Zone will receive Knights T-shirts and a chance to enter a raffle to win esports prizes from Knights sponsors.  There will also be a chance to play Madden utilizing the new equipment, as well as meet the 2022 Madden HBCU champion Eric Minor.  Food and beverages will also be served.  

This Gaming Zone will give our children in the Homewood community a chance to take advantage of modern technology, experience something new, broaden their horizons by learning about esports, and have fun in a safe environment, says Derrick Clark, the Pittsburgh Platoon Leader for The Mission Continues, which partnered together with House of Manna and the Knights on the endeavor.

Connecting veterans with under-resourced communities is the goal of The Mission Continues.  Clark grew up in Homewood and following his military service returned home to lead Mission Continues efforts in his hometown.  Clark worked together with the House of Manna, which provided space to establish the Knights Gaming Zone.

The relationship between the Knights, Clark, and The Mission Continues, which resulted in the establishment of the Homewood Knights Gaming Zone, goes beyond this project.  O’Connor, the Knights president, is a USMC veteran and former leader of the Pittsburgh chapter of The Mission Continues.  Clark and O’Connor’s shared commitment to benefit the community of Homewood is what brought this project together. 


The Mission Continues is a national veterans organization dedicated to empowering veterans as community-based leaders.  We invest in veterans and under-resourced communities, developing new skill sets and equipping a growing veteran volunteer movement with the tools to drive positive change. We deploy veteran volunteers in more than 40 cities nationwide alongside nonprofit partners and community leaders to improve educational resources, address food insecurity, increase access to parks and green spaces, foster neighborhood identity, and more.  Through this unique model, veterans are provided opportunities for personal connection and professional growth while generating visible community impact.  This work is made possible through the generous contributions of our mission partners: A. James & Alice B. Clark Foundation, The Boeing Company, Starbucks, The Marcus Foundation, and Raytheon Technologies. 

To learn more, visit http://www.missioncontinues.org or follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter

For more information about House of Manna:  https://www.facebook.com/GodLovesHomewood/

about the knights

The Pittsburgh Knights are a global esports organization headquartered in Pittsburgh. Since launching in 2017, the Knights have focused on entertaining fans, sharing esports, and bringing people together. They solidified their spot in the City of Champions by partnering with six-time Super Bowl winners the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2018. Since then, Pittsburgh-native and multi-platinum recording artist Wiz Khalifa has come on board as a strategic partner. Adding to their troop is Pittsburgh Penguins’ alternate captain Evgeni Malkin – 3-time Stanley Cup winner. To cap off their powerhouse group, they brought on Mexico City-based media fund MX LATAM in 2019. Officially recognized by Pittsburgh as a premier team, they have partnered with the most talented, innovative, and prestigious sports and entertainment industry leaders – both in the city and around the world.

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