Competitive gaming is the fastest growing sport in the world. High School esports teams are popping up in the most advanced high schools because they garner communication, skill, and build leaders. As of January 2019 (according to EdTech) there were more than 1,200 ESports teams, up from 200 just one year prior. It is estimated that 589 million people watch ESports in 2020 on platforms like YouTube and Twitch.
Yes, we are talking about video games. Video games have grown past the days of "Atari" and "Pong." With 84% of teens at home having access to a gaming console, it is no surprise that ESports and watching video games has become a worldwide phenomena. There's more. If a student works hard and learns the skills of ESports teams in high school, they can earn scholarships for college.
During the 2018-2019 school year, universities awarded over 15 million dollars in college scholarships for ESports athletes. (source: National Association of Collegiate Esports)
The explosion of ESports started in college started in 2013 when Blizzard Entertainment partnered with Tespa for gaming titles like "Overwatch, Hearthstone, and StarCraft." Now there are more than 20,000 ESports athletes in univesities and colleges competing in tournaments. Beyond this number, universities are building and investing BIG in their ESports programs. These programs need students and they need star student ESports Athletes.
High school students play Fortnite more than any other game, but League of Legends and Overwatch are the most popular in college and have official college leagues sanctioned by videogame publishers. In college, 51% of college students believe that an ESports athlete is a viable career option. In 2018, the League of Legends World Championship attracted more viewers than the Super Bowl and the NCAA Final Four combined, well over 200 million viewers.
For the first time in the fall of 2020, Encore High School is offering courses in ESports and online gaming. This summer, a small ESports facility is being created so students can work on mastering their craft of working together while playing video games. Plans to join the high school ESports League is part of the creation of this department.
When Covid-19 shut down the world, Encore introduced special master classes during their distance learning plan for gaming to see if there would be interest in building a program. The response was great and the plans to build the gaming home continued. (Encore had been planning a gaming sector for about two years prior to Covid.)
The ESports courses will fall into the Career Arts Conservatory and can earn students Master's Certifications by graduation. This will also expose students to college scholarships and improve communicaton skills. Students interested in gaming can sign up for classes upon registration into the fall semester of 2020. Encore is preparing for the new age of sports behind a computer screen and hoping for scholarships to be awarded to start ESports Athletes.
Petey the Pirate is the author of this blog for Encore Education Corporation. Part of Encore Education Corporation is Encore High School, a free public arts regional high school in Southern California grades 7 - 12. Encore's Arts program is currently taking applications for the fall 2020 enrollment. Transportation is available through the Inland Empire (15 and 215 freeway) and the high desert. www.encorehighschool.com. Where arts and academics grow together. WASC Accredtied. Copyright 2020.