By Tyler Schrodt, CEO / Founder, Electronic Gaming Federal (EGF)
EGFH, EGF’s national high school esports league is partnering with CAS to bring esports to high school in Connecticut
Since the early 2000’s, individuals from all over the world have competed professionally in video games, now known as “esports”. Today, enabled by publishers like Riot Games and platforms like Twitch, esports have become a global phenomenon attracting an audience of more than 260 million viewers and selling out world-famous stadiums all over the globe.
Now, the Electronic Gaming Federation (EGF) is partnering with the Connecticut Association of Schools (CAS) to bring esports to high schools across their state. Connecticut will be the first state to join EGFH, EGF’s national high school esports league, ahead of the league’s Spring 2018 launch.
It’s been an honor to work with CAS to bring esports to schools across the state in a way which creates new opportunities for students who love gaming. There’s still a lot of work to be done but we’ve seen incredible support from students and administrators and we’re excited to use Connecticut as the example as we work with other states and cities to do the same.
As in traditional sports like football, teams from different high schools will compete against one another in weekly matches in an 8 week regular season. At the end of the season, the top teams will compete in a state championship to qualify for EGFH’s national tournament where the top team from Connecticut will face other teams from across the US.
EGF will be working with participating high schools in preparation for the Spring launch to develop esports programs customized for each school. Programs are required to be official programs at their schools and will have competitive teams for a variety of games on PC and console overseen by a full time staff person. In addition, EGF is working with educators across the country to develop esports-based experiential learning opportunities that allow students interested in pursuing a career in esports outside of becoming a professional player such as becoming a broadcaster or team manager.
Students who participate in EGFH will have the ability to receive scholarships provided by EGF and as with traditional sports, they will have the opportunity to be recruited to either a collegiate esports program or potentially a professional team. EGF also operates EGFC, a national varsity collegiate esports like that works with large universities to develop esports programs that students may one day be recruited to.
The partnerships with CAS comes after EGF worked with CT Esports, a local high school group on a pilot season which included schools from 15 districts this past Spring. During the first pilot, teams from different schools competed in matches online against other schools from across the state. The top teams were invited to compete in a state championship tournament held at the University of Connecticut and in addition to hosting the event, the University of Connecticut offered scholarships to their school of engineering to the state champions.
The initial push for esports in Connecticut high school was made by Clint Kennedy, Ph.D. who is the Supervisor of Innovation, Personalized Learning, and Magnet Program at New London Public Schools – “I am hard pressed to think of an activity that challenges our young people to collaborate, think critically, and engage persistently, even in the face of repeated failure, to achieve some level of success towards a desired goal. I see many popular esports titles as a way to build these critical skills in hopes that we can then transfer them to other domains. Connecticut high schools are a great place to start making this work part of our formal educational toolset.”
EGFH season one will officially begin in February of 2018 with additional states and cities to be announced in the coming months.