×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

High School Esports Competitions to Begin in U.S. This Year

Varsity esports programs are coming to high schools across the U.S. for the first time ever later in 2018.

PlayVS, a startup building online and offline infrastructure for high school esports, announced Thursday that it’s partnering with the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) and the NFHS Network. The NFHS organizes education-based athletic activities around the country, while the NFHS Network is the national leader in streaming high school sports online.

PlayVS’ inaugural season begins in October 2018 with an initial rollout in at least 15 states. Competitions will focus on three genres: multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) games, fighting games, and sports games. Students can select their own teams regardless of experience, gender, or age, and there will be no limit on how many teams each school can have. This gives all students a chance to compete at the varsity level. There will be two seasons each school year. Matches will be played online via PlayVS’ platform, which eliminates travel costs. But, some playoff and championship games will be played in front of a live audience.

Esports is becoming a massive global industry. Market intelligence firm Newzoo estimates revenues will grow 38 percent this year to reach $906 million. The global fan base will also reportedly increase 13.5 percent to an estimated 380 million. On its current trajectory, Newzoo estimates the industry will reach $1.4 billion by 2020.

Varsity collegiate esports began in 2014 when Robert Morris University in Illinois created a scholarship-sponsored “League of Legends” team. Nearly 200 colleges in the U.S. and Canada are now actively recruiting and offering scholarships to players. PlayVS CEO and founder Delane Parnell said his company is excited to introduce esports to high schools nationwide.

“This partnership combined with our technology and publisher relationships will help us create the first scalable competition for high school students,” said Parnell. “Esports is about more than just playing games — it can be used to help students grow their STEM interests and develop valuable life skills and since there are more high school gamers than athletes, it’s about time we foster this pastime in an educational setting.”

Popular on Variety

More Gaming

  • Game Awards OrchestraThe Game Awards, Show,

    Game Awards 2019 to Play on 53 Cinemark Screens Alongside 'Jumanji: The Next Level'

    This year’s Game Awards, recognizing the top video games, creators and esports of 2019, is coming to the silver screen. In a three-way partnership, the Game Awards, Cinemark Theatres and Sony Pictures are teaming on a superticket program pairing the Dec. 12 live simulcast of the 2019 Game Awards in 53 Cinemark locations with a [...]

  • John Carmack John Carmack, Chief Technical

    Oculus CTO John Carmack to Step Down

    One of the driving forces behind Facebook’s virtual reality efforts is leaving his post: Oculus CTO John Carmack announced Wednesday afternoon that he was transitioning to a “consulting CTO” role this week, and devote most of his time to new challenges outside of the company. “I will still have a voice in the development work, [...]

  • Magic Leap Raising Another Funding Round

    Magic Leap Is Raising Another Big Funding Round

    Augmented reality startup Magic Leap is raising even more money. The company is currently in the process of raising its Series E round of funding, a spokesperson told Variety on Monday. Magic Leap previously raised around $2.6 billion, including $280 million from NTT Docomo in April. “Magic Leap is in the midst of a significant [...]

  • terminator vr

    VRstudios Launches 'Terminator' VR Experience at Dave & Buster's (EXCLUSIVE)

    Just in time for the launch of the new “Terminator: Dark Fate” movie, Dave & Buster’s is getting a “Terminator: Guardian of Fate” virtual reality experience, courtesy of VRstudios. The experience, which features the voice of Linda Hamilton as Sarah Connor, is launching at 130 Dave & Buster’s locations across the U.S. Just like previous [...]

  • Death Stranding

    'Death Stranding': How PlayStation Tackled the Unique, Mysterious Marketing Campaign

    There are a few reasons why “Death Stranding” might seem like a marketing slam dunk. It’s the first game from Hideo Kojima, the video game legend behind the “Metal Gear” series, since 2015, and also the first since he reformed his Kojima Productions into an independent studio, partnered with Sony Interactive Entertainment. It boasts Hollywood [...]

  • Activision Blizzard

    Activision Blizzard Shrugs off Hong Kong Uproar, Beats Q3 Earnings Expectations

    Controversy? What controversy? As Activision Blizzard reported its fiscal Q3 earnings Thursday afternoon, there was no mention at all of a recent backlash over the company’s controversial suspension of one of its players. Instead, executives celebrated better-than-expected results, and promised to more aggressively embrace mobile gaming. The gaming company generated $1.28 billion in sales in [...]

  • Niantic developer platform

    ‘Pokemon Go’ Maker Niantic Launches Developer Program, Announces $10M Creator Fund

    Niantic, the company behind games like “Pokemon Go,” “Ingress” and “Harry Potter: Wizards Unite,” began opening up its technology to third-party developers Wednesday, allowing them to build their own location-based augmented reality (AR) games and applications on top of its platform. Niantic is kickstarting these efforts with a $10 million fund for indie developers. The [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content