Axios Raleigh

Picture of the Raleigh skyline.

We made it to Friday.

๐ŸŒค๏ธ Weather: Cloudy then gradually becoming sunny throughout the day. High around 78ยฐ.

๐ŸŽ‚ Happy birthday to our Axios Raleigh member Robert Nielsen!

Today's Smart Brevityโ„ข๏ธ count is 892 words โ€” a 3.5-minute read.

1 big thing: Epic's deep cuts

Photo illustration: Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Cary-based developer Epic Games is cutting around 16% of its workforce, citing a slowdown in its marquee game Fortnite and spending more than it has earned, the company announced yesterday.

Driving the news: Epic will lay off around 870 employees and part ways with 250 others as it divests from music site Bandcamp (which it bought just last year) and parts of the marketing platform SuperAwesome, CEO Tim Sweeney told employees yesterday in a note Epic published to its website, as first reported by Bloomberg.

  • Epic declined to comment on the local impacts of the cuts.

Why it matters: The cuts are among the largest tech layoffs from a Triangle-based company this year. Others include those made by Red Hat and Pendo.

  • It's also the first notable sign of retrenchment from the Cary-based company, which has raised lavish sums of money, hired around 1,000 people in the Triangle and purchased the old Cary Towne Center mall property to turn into a new headquarters.
  • No progress has been made, however, at the property, which Epic bought in 2021 for $95 million.

Details: Sweeney said going forward, Epic will focus on more Fortnite content. There will not be any more job cuts, he said, as these layoffs "will stabilize our finances."

What they're saying: "For a while now, we've been spending way more money than we earn, investing in the next evolution of Epic and growing Fortnite as a metaverse-inspired ecosystem for creators," Sweeney said.

  • "I had long been optimistic that we could power through this transition without layoffs, but in retrospect I see that this was unrealistic."

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2. College GameDay's Durham takeover

Duke Blue Devils fans cheer as they score against the Clemson Tigers during a football game at Wallace Wade Stadium. Photo: David Jensen/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

ESPN's College GameDay comes to Durham for the first time this Saturday as No. 17 Duke takes on No. 11 Notre Dame at Wallace Wade Stadium.

Why it matters: All eyes are on Durham for a college sport that's not basketball, Katie Peralta Soloff writes.

State of play: This will be the biggest challenge of the season yet for the undefeated Blue Devils, who trounced Connecticut last week.

  • Notre Dame is chasing a road win after a heartbreaking last-minute loss at home last week against Ohio State.

The intrigue: In only his second year as head coach, Mike Elko has led Duke to a 4-0 start, including a win over top-10 Clemson.

  • Notre Dame quarterback Sam Hartman, a Charlotte native and graduate transfer, faced Duke twice when he was at Wake Forest.

Details: GameDay is 9am-noon tomorrow. It'll be at Abele Quad, located just in front of the iconic Duke Chapel, according to ESPN. Kickoff is at 7:30pm.

  • Actor Ken Jeong, a Duke graduate known for films like "The Hangover," will be the guest picker on the show.

Pro tip: Come early to GameDay (like, around 6 or 7am) with a creative sign to secure a good spot amid the action. Shouldn't be hard for Dukies โ€” y'all are accustomed to showing up early for college sports.

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3. The Tea: Catch up quick

Illustration of a teapot made out of an acorn with steam coming from the spout.

Illustration: Allie Carl/Axios

๐Ÿงช Despite two years of lobbying, the Triangle will miss out on landing one of the new offices for the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health. The National Institutes of Health instead selected Boston, Dallas and D.C. (Axios)

๐Ÿ—ณ๏ธ N.C. House Speaker Tim Moore says he won't run for re-election to the N.C. General Assembly, fueling speculation he will run for Congress. (News & Observer ๐Ÿ”’)

  • State Republican leaders are currently drawing Congressional voting maps for 2024. (Axios)

๐ŸŽธ Singer Nathaniel Rateliff of Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats says he was arrested in Burke County on his way to play a show at Red Hat Amphitheater. (WRAL)

๐Ÿ Nascar's All-Star Race is returning to North Wilkesboro next year. (CBS17)

4. A new children's hospital

Illustration of a giant teddy bear taking up an entire hospital bed.

Illustration: Aรฏda Amer/Axios

The Triangle will get a new children's hospital in the next decade, thanks to $320 million of dedicated funding in the new state budget for UNC Health to build one.

Driving the news: UNC Health said the roughly $2 billion standalone hospital will provide medical and behavioral health care for children and adolescents and create thousands of jobs.

  • The state hopes to open the hospital in the next eight to 10 years.

Yes, but: To reach that deadline, UNC Health will need to raise significant amounts of money via a philanthropic campaign and find property in the region that can handle the project.

  • The campus will need to be at least 50 to 70 acres in size and in a highly visible location in the Triangle, UNC Health spokesperson Alan Wolf told Axios.

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5. Things to do this weekend

Illustration of four office chairs in a row followed by an outdoor camping chair

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

๐Ÿช• Go to Fayetteville Street in Raleigh for the IBMA World of Bluegrass street fest, featuring free performances.

๐Ÿ–ผ๏ธ Check out Hillsborough's art scene with the town's Last Fridays Art Walk.

๐Ÿถ Bid on custom pet architecture built by local architects and engineers at Barkitecture, an event at Fenton tomorrow that raises money for the Friends of Wake County Animal Center and Triangle Beagle Rescue.

๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ท Sample different Greek foods at A Taste of Greece tomorrow and Sunday at St. Barbara Greek Orthodox Church in Durham.

๐Ÿค– See if ChatGPT can be a skillful curator of art at an AI-influenced exhibit which runs until Jan. 14 at the Nasher Museum of Art in Durham.

๐ŸŽธ Hear dozens of bands play at the Carrboro Music Festival on Sunday.

๐Ÿ‘ฐโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿคตโ€โ™‚๏ธ We want to hear from real brides and grooms across the Carolinas who have gotten married in the last year (March 2022 onward).

  • Fill out this survey to be considered for a new series we're working on about the cost of Carolina weddings.

See you back here Monday!

This newsletter was edited by Jen Ashley and copy edited by Lucia Maher.