PlayVS, a startup esports league at the high school level, has secured $15 million in a Series A funding round. Venture capital firm New Enterprise Associates (NEA) led the funding. NEA has invested in other successful companies such as Uber, Groupon, and Buzzfeed. In addition, other notable investors included the San Francisco 49ers, Twitch founder Kevin Lin, rapper Nas and Dollar Shave Club co-founder Michael Dublin.
Founder Delane Parnell gave the following statement:
Video games played a critical role in keeping me out of trouble and helping me develop an interest in technology when I was a kid growing up on the westside of Detroit. Our exclusive partnership with the NFHS and NFHS Network was the first step toward creating a league system that will impact millions of kids’ lives in an extremely positive way. Now, with our Series A, we can take all the steps necessary to ensure that our inaugural season is a massive success while being affordable for schools, parents and students across the country.
What is the NFHS?
The National Federation of State High School Associations organizes sports and competitions at the high school level. In April 2018, the NFHS added esports to their list of competitions. However, the esports scene provides a new challenge for the NFHS. PlayVS steps in to help create infrastructure for esports leagues across 19,500 schools nationwide. Students will play esports while representing their school, all the way to the State Championship level. Their season will start in October and will end in January, where the top teams from each conference will face each other in the playoffs of their respective game. Furthermore, these esports matches will be broadcast on the NFHS Network alongside the other sports events this year. PlayVS will be launching leagues in the MOBA, Fighting and Sports genres.
Colleges and universities across North America have already implemented esports into their systems; multiple universities and colleges have teams and scholarships for pro gaming. Yet, the same system for high schools is not available. With PlayVS, professional teams and schools could start scouting and recruiting players in high school.
The esports scene is huge and is continuously growing, but people still do not take it seriously. This push towards a high school system with esports should help elevate public opinion of professional gaming everywhere.
How do you think a high school esports league will affect the professional gaming scene? Let us know in the comments below!