High School Esports Is Set To Explode. Here's Why.
Benefits of high school esports programs are changing the narrative around teenagers and gaming.
With collegiate esports continuing to grow and scholarship opportunities arriving at six figures, pop culture is recognizing something you might already know: Esports are here to stay, and young diamond/platinum players equipped with the right amount of education and training are set to load their bank accounts all the way to college graduation.
As the perception of competitive gaming shifts and becomes more respected as a disciplined extracurricular, high schools across the country are cutting ribbons on newly minted labs with stout gaming rigs to be used by varsity programs modeled after some of the most successful schools in the collegiate ranks.
At PlayVS, we equip high schools with platforms and unify league competition, while lending coaches a helping hand. These coaches are typically teachers or other school staffers who already have a passion for helping their students thrive. And, they’ll be the ones responsible for ushering in a new era of collegiate esports talent through helping students form good habits and reviewing the team’s gameplay footage to provide opportunities for growth.
“Ever since I was in high school, I wanted to see video games somehow be a sport, even all the way down to the high school level,” Coach Jason Lund recently told us. “It made sense to me that people could compete and people would enjoy watching.”
And let’s give credit where it’s due: Twitch has done more to popularize esports and set the industry apace for billion-dollar revenues versus just about any other entity thus far. By the time Fortnite rocketed to pop culture relevance in 2018, esports had already hit the zeitgeist as Twitch landed exclusive deals with top talents while earning the fourth most traffic on the Internet.
That’s meant more viewership than cable juggernauts, reaching hundreds of millions of viewers per month. And, today’s high schoolers grew up learning, watching and practicing many of the techniques some of the most dominant gamers in esports have streamed live – from League of Legends’ best champions, to Drake casually dropping into Fortnite and talking about pineapple pizza while fragging unworthy opponents.
Now’s the time those same high school esports athletes are looking ahead at scholarship opportunities in esports, hoping to similarly be featured on livestreams with a spotlight on their skills. It’s why we partnered with Nerd Street to build out a community of localhosts and continue marketing the PlayVS high school championship matches.
“Competitive gaming starts at a young age,” said John Fazio, CEO and Founder of Nerd Street, as reported by Esports Insider. “Together with PlayVS, we are fostering and publicizing inclusive competitive opportunities for young gamers across the country. We are creating a movement that develops camaraderie, teamwork, and communication skills through esports.”
And, while player development might include upstart personal branding on social media with in-game highlights – it’ll be broadcasts of seasonal h.s. esports championships that will provide a quick reference database of footage for college scouts to recruit elite graduates from around the country. Livestreams of official league matches will also allow students a level playing field, allowing colleges to better evaluate individual performance.
It’s just another way that amateur esports is beginning to reflect the transition of other athletes from high school to the NCAA, to the professional leagues.
In fact last year we had another first in esports, when esports legend “Lupo” signed an endorsement deal with State Farm. Now, his highlights and Twitch streams are conveniently “Brought to you by State Farm.” While athletes like LeBron James have a clear career pathway from high school to the pros, that same pipeline to reach Lupo’s level needs further development in esports’ amateur ranks.
It’s precisely why our Super Coaches at PlayVS provide fellow esports coaches opportunities for weekly networking while recording insights and tips on best practices as deployed in their own high school esports programs.
With proper guidance, each school participating in high school esports competition can strengthen the bond between college programs and the amateur ranks. It starts with opening up that pipeline and building a great platform for coaches, esports directors and players to interact, compete and log their progress.
To learn more about our dedication to player development and how our platform can benefit amateur esports athletes, check out this rundown on the PlayVS platform.