eSports, also known as electronic sports, is competitive gaming via video games that includes practices, scrimmages, tournaments, games and tournaments. The eSports industry has grown tremendously, and continues to do so as more and more individuals are playing competitively, or are creating and tuning into livestreams of these games. eSports has been prevalent in schools in the forms of extracurricular activities, or classes, and continues to grow each year.
In episode 15 of Charter School Superstars, Ralph Krauss and Michael Smythers discuss their charter school eSports league. Ryan Kairalla interviewed Ralph Krauss, a teacher at Pinecrest Academy Nevada, along with Charter School Support Administrator, Michael Smythers. Mr. Krauss and Mr. Smythers have collaborated to build a high school eSports league, featuring charter schools from Florida and Nevada. Within this eSports league, the teams take part in different events such as scrimmages and tournaments. The teams have official records and titles based on their competitive events. Students in these teams are playing games such as Rocket League, which is one of the most famous video games in the world and is most known for players controlling race cars playing soccer.
By participating in the eSports league, students are able to develop different hard and soft skills. Just like traditional sports, these students are involved in collaborting as a team, participating in practices and are even developing plays used during their competitions. Some of the students involved in the eSports league are students who would not be interested in joining a traditional sports team such as football, basketball or soccer, yet still have the chance to be part of a team and enhance their social skills. The eSports industry itself continues to increase each year, which can be noticed in the 10 million dollars worth of eSports scholarships that are being offered to students, across the country. Not only are the students playing in the eSports league being prepared for their futures, as well as potential careers, but students interested in broadcasting are being given the opportunity to commentate on the games and tournaments for the league. This creates a league played, announced and produced by students in a new and quick growing industry.
For younger students who are in middle and high school, online gaming is becoming one of the most viewed sports via Twitch, Youtube, and other streaming platforms. By the year 2021, the projected revenue for esports is over 1.7 billion dollars. Noticing and analyzing the potential for this sport, Ralph Krauss states “who better to jump on this than Academica schools!” At the very start of the eSports league, there was participation from 5 schools, 2 in Nevada, and 3 in Florida. The schools involved were Doral Academy Red Rock, SLAM Nevada, SLAM Miami, Mater Bay, and Mater Academy Middle High. This year the league has 15 schools participating. According to both Mr. Krauss and Mr. Smythers, there is no limit as to where the eSports may go.
If a school or team is interested in participating, please contact Ralph Krauss or Michael Smythers for more information on how to create a team, the proper hardware and bandwidth needed, as well as possible sponsorship opportunities from outside companies and organizations. To learn more about the eSports league in Academica charter schools, please tune in to episode 15 of Charter School Superstars.