ACE ARENA: COVID-19 #SmallBusinessRelief

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TLDR:: COVID-19 sucks and we need your help. That's what's up! 

Please consider a donation to help us with our operating costs through this pandemic. Our business depends on IRL (in real life) social and community events and we are limited on what we can offer during this difficult time. Please consider an in-kind donation or pre-purchasing some game time and services to use at a later date.   

The long story and "Why" for ACE ARENA

My name is John Sarmie and I'm the owner of Awkward Croc Entertainment, the parent company of ACE ARENA. I've created this GoFundMe campaign because I need your help.   

From an early age, I knew my path would be filled with mentoring and coaching. Looking back, this started when I was a student at Mayport Middle School when I signed up to be a Peer Counselor for other struggling students. When kids my age needed someone to talk with, other than an adult, I was called in to listen and be there. This carried over into high school where I joined a youth church group, and again when I entered the military. During my military training, the instructors asked me to lead several of the classes and help teach other recruits. Once my military training was completed, I continued my education studying electronics for 2 years, right here in Jacksonville. Shortly after graduating, I secured what became a 23-year career with a local sports technology and events company that allowed me the opportunity to travel. I was responsible for implementing and managing technology at professional sporting events and in arenas all over the world. Through my travels, I was able to follow the exponential growth of esports. And, in the early coaching days with my sons, my ah-ha moment came when I hosted a video gaming event for a sports team. This was the beginning of little eLeague, our competitive team gaming league for youth. 

But, to run and manage a gaming league requires space, PCs, and a dedicated staff. After trying to find host locations for little eLeague, it also became clear that Jacksonville needed a dedicated esports facility for both casual and competitive gaming. In comes ah-ha moment number two… ACE ARENA!

Our mission at ACE ARENA is to provide a safe, fun atmosphere for community entertainment with an emphasis on esports, education, and events. To complement this mission, our onsite eatery (which was set to open the end of March) will offer a unique dining experience with a variety of convenient and healthy game-inspired food options.

ACE ARENA is locally and veteran-owned, and I've self-funded this project with my personal 401K funds.  We are not a chain or a business that only cares about the dollars. I’m passionate about creating a safe community hangout using esports and gaming to teach, mentor, and guide everyone towards opportunities and pathways available in the events technology industry. ACE ARENA is more than just a place to push buttons.  As part of our educational outreach, we are committed to developing tech programs and camps designed around a curriculum that includes video and audio production, broadcasting and streaming, digital art and content creation. More news will be coming soon about new partnerships with other organizations but it all hinges on our financial situation in the next couple of months.  

So, what is ACE ARENA, where is it, and what can you do there?

ACE ARENA is a 22,500 sq. ft. esports, education, and events venue located in the Mandarin area of Jacksonville, Florida. Our daily operations include pay-by-the-hour video gaming on PCs, consoles, virtual reality systems, and racing simulators; in addition to classic consoles, arcade machines, and soon we’ll be adding ping pong and pool tables. We will also host youth and adult gaming leagues, along with other fun activities like Twitch Sings and trivia nights. Our educational plans include STEM classes, tech training, and other camps and clinics. As a venue, ACE ARENA can accommodate a wide variety of events, such as corporate functions, birthday parties, meet-ups, charity fundraisers and, of course, esports and gaming-related events! With a full kitchen on-site, we will serve lunch, dinner, snacks, and beverages, as well as offering catering for events. We can also provide full-service event management, along with complete audio, video, and lighting production services.

My promise to YOU!

As a brand new event venue, you can imagine this is hitting us pretty hard. Please like, share, and follow our social media pages below and, if you feel moved to do so, please donate and share this GoFundMe page with everyone and anyone. My promise is that all GoFundMe contributions will go toward operating expenses as we go through this COVID-19 pandemic. Any funds received above and beyond what is needed for operating expenses will be used for the development of ACE ARENA educational programs and to support community non-profit organizations.

We have some exciting announcements, partnerships, and events planned in the upcoming months but right now, we need your support.  I'm open to chatting about our plans and look forward to seeing everyone at ACE ARENA!


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#SmallBusinessRelief #COVID19Relief #Jacksonville #Florida #SupportLocalBusiness



  • George Conner 
    • $10 
    • 4 mos
  • Kellee Wip 
    • $500 
    • 8 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $20 
    • 11 mos
  • Richard Lyman 
    • $500 
    • 12 mos
  • nicholas sentoso 
    • $5 
    • 13 mos
See all

Fundraising team (5)

John Sarmie 
Jacksonville, FL
Jill Sarmie 
Team member
Michael Reid 
Team member
Morgan Womack 
Team member
Rey Escanio 
Team member
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