Esports, or competitive gaming, is the fastest growing sport in High Schools. Just like traditional sports, students can earn college scholarships and varsity letters, and they must maintain GPA and attendance standards to participate. Esports are an excellent way for schools to engage students who normally wouldn’t get involved in school activities.
Starting an esports program at your child's school is easier than you think. In this article, we'll walk you through step-by-step on how you can help get esports started at your child's High School.
PlayVS requires at least one verified school faculty member to manage and facilitate esports competition at their school. The most common candidate is a teacher, but the role can also be filled by an IT member, a counselor, an athletic director, an activities director, etc. It ensures that there is always a responsible adult present to foster a safe, collaborative gaming environment for students.
Your first step in starting an esports program is to identify a faculty member at your child's school that is willing to manage the esports program. Their responsibilities would include recruiting players, managing rosters, running practices, enrolling in seasons, and facilitating matches. To find this person, you can:
Ask your child to ask around at school for teachers who may be interested.
Visit the faculty directory on your school's website for faculty contact info. STEM Teachers and Athletics Directors are usually the best place to start.
Call the school's front desk and request a meeting with the Activities or Athletic Director.
Reach out to PlayVS to see who we know at your school. Simply email firstname.lastname@example.org and ask for a list of contacts at your school.
If you contact a faculty member and they are not interested, try asking if they know of anyone else who works at the school that may be interested. If you can't find anyone, let us know and we can help. Email email@example.com.
Once you find your champion, get them excited about esports! You can point them to our Esports Benefits Page or show them any number of local news stories below:
Now that you have a faculty sponsor, it's time for both of you to approach the school Principal about starting a PlayVS esports program. We recommend setting up a meeting. Here are some potential hurdles/questions you may run into and how you can address them:
Why would we want an esports program? There are numerous benefits for esports in schools, including college scholarship opportunities, increased student engagement with their school, career opportunities, development of soft skills, and much more.
How are we going to pay for this? PlayVS offers numerous discounts and free options for Title 1 schools, All-Girls programs, Special Olympics programs, and more. Visit our Pricing FAQ for more info. Also, parents and the community can help raise money for the program by using fundraising platforms like Snap! Raise.
Who is going to run this? This one is easy: Your faculty champion!
What equipment do we need? This depends on what the students want to play, but PlayVS partners with Nintendo to offer free Nintendo Switches and game titles like Super Smash Bros. Ultimate™, Mario Kart™ 8, and Splatoon™ 3 for many schools.
Where will the students play? They most often use the school's computer lab. If the school does not have a computer lab, play-from-home options are also available in states that allow it (see full Play From Home Guidelines). That's the beauty of esports, you can play from anywhere!
We already have an esports program using a different platform, why would we use PlayVS? If your school already has an esports program, that's great! PlayVS can supplement your existing program with other game titles and competitions. You can browse our offered titles and competitions from playvs.com.
If the Principal is still uninterested or has other questions, email Nick Lesec at PlayVS so we can address them.
If the Principal is interested, that's great! Get a verbal go-ahead to move forward and move on to the next step.
This step is easy. Simply connect your faculty champion/sponsor with PlayVS. You can send an intro email between them and firstname.lastname@example.org or better yet, schedule a call and forward the invite to your faculty sponsor.
That's all! PlayVS will work with your school to get things going from here. On behalf of PlayVS and the students who want to play games for their school, we thank you!