At a time when some traditional sports aren’t being played due to the COVID-19 pandemic, e-sports is coming to B.C. secondary schools.
BC School Sports says it will begin the rollout of e-sports, or electronic sports, in high schools this fall, in partnership with Vancouver-based company GameSeta Esports.
Trial play launches with the team-based strategy game League of Legends at BCSS member schools.
An initial “exploratory trial competition” among schools will take place on the GameSeta online platform. The games will be streamed live on Twitch for an online audience , according to a news release sent Monday (Oct. 23) by GameSeta.
“With this partnership and our unique technology, Canada will have its first scalable high school esports solution that priorities Canadian student data and privacy protections,” stated Rana Taj, GameSeta president and co-founder.
E-sports is a “great option” for schools as they look to provide participation opportunites for high school students during the COVID-19 pandemic, said Tawanda Masawi, GameSeta’s CEO and co-founder.
“Our value proposition continues to strengthen during COVID-19, which explains our oversubscribed waitlist from schools across provinces in Canada,” he said in the news release.
Jordan Abney, BC School Sports’ executive director, said the organization is “thrilled” to partner with a B.C.-based company in GameSeta, founded in 2019.
“Esports is a new frontier for BCSS but credit to our Board of Directors who felt it was important to explore every option on how to engage students with their school,” Abney said in the GameSeta news release. “There is a mountain of evidence to suggest good things happen to youth when there is a sense of belonging, responsibility and community in their school. If we can bring that to students who wouldn’t normally participate in school sport, then that is a great thing for our member schools.”
League of Legends, among the world’s most popular video games, was “the preferred choice” among BCSS membership, Abney said.
“We appreciate it’s a 5v5 team-based strategy game (that) will offer many of the same teaching and growth opportunities that any traditional team sport would.”
Yearly, BC School Sports offers interscholastic competition in 19 different activities to more than 70,000 students in Grades 8 to 12.
Nearly 200 colleges in the U.S. and Canada are actively recruiting and offer scholarships for e-sports, the news release says. Also, “companies within the esports industry are looking to hire those with experience across multiple aspects of gaming.”
In a biography, GameSeta said it partners with school bodies and associations “to deliver safe and inclusive esports competitions while also developing problem-solving, teamwork, and communication skills in students.”
For the e-sports trial, interested schools are asked to fill out a form found at bcschoolsports.ca and email it to email@example.com by no later than noon on Nov. 4. The cost to participate in the trial invitational will be $29.99 per student.