The National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) and the NFHS Network have entered into a partnership with PlayVS to begin the rollout of esports competition in high schools throughout the nation.
PlayVS, an online gaming provider, will work directly with the NFHS and the NFHS Network to introduce esports to high schools and state associations beginning this fall, with an initial rollout in at least 15 states. After regular-season competition between schools on the PlayVS online platform, state championship games will be played before a live spectator audience and streamed on the NFHS Network.
“PlayVS’ philosophy on high school-based sports and focus on participation perfectly aligns with the NFHS and its member state associations,” said Mark Koski, CEO of the NFHS Network. “We looked at many potential esports partners, and PlayVS was the clear choice thanks, in part, to its overall education-based concept, mission and vision.
“As schools look to provide participation opportunities for high school students, esports is a great option on two fronts,” Koski said. “First, esports may involve students who haven’t been involved in a sport or activity in the past. Second, the costs to implement esports are minimal compared to starting a traditional sport, which can be extensive with equipment and facilities.”
Koski noted that with 72 percent of teens playing video games regularly, esports is a great way to engage additional students with after-school activities. Nearly 200 colleges in the United States and Canada are actively recruiting and offer scholarships for esports. Additionally, companies within the esports industry are looking to hire those with experience across multiple aspects of gaming.
“We believe the NFHS, NFHS Network and PlayVS make a great team to help jump-start esports activities in high schools across the country,” said Bob Gardner, NFHS executive director. “With the rollout of this partnership, we anticipate that there will be tremendous initial and growing interest in esports from students, and we are excited to broadcast these events on the NFHS Network.”
PlayVS will operate all esports competitions for NFHS member state associations in a turnkey fashion.
“We’re excited to partner with the NFHS and NFHS Network to introduce esports in high schools nationwide,” said Delane Parnell, CEO and founder of PlayVS. “This partnership combined with our technology and publisher relationships will help us create the first scalable competition for high school students. 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.”