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What are esports?
By now, “esports” have dominated mainstream media and have even made their way onto primetime television like ESPN, but what are they? In short, esports (electronic sports) are a form of competitive sports, but instead of a football field or baseball diamond the competition takes place in a video game. Just like sports, there are any number of competitive games like Rocket League (think soccer with remote controlled cars) and NBA 2K (play as your favorite professional basketball team) just to name a few.
Is it that big of a deal?
In 2018, over 380 million people worldwide tuned in to watch competitive esports, up from 335 million in 2017. By 2021, esports viewership is expected to top 550 million people worldwide. Just as impressive is the revenue growth of the esports industry. In 2018, the esports industry generated a whopping $865 million, up 32% from 2017. 2019’s revenue is expected to top $1bn for the first time.
What are the benefits?
The immediate benefit to introducing an esports program at your school is an increase in GPA and attendance. Our high school curriculum, HSEL Gaming Concepts, has seen some impressive initial numbers. The program’s pilots, Dr. Kristy Custer and teacher Michael Russel, have seen an average increase in their GPA of 1.4 as well as a 95% improvement to attendance. There’s also the added benefit that any competitive team sport brings to students in the form of building confidence, leadership skills, and forming lasting relationships.