Scholastic esports competition platform PlayVS partnered with Activision Blizzard Tuesday to add Overwatch to its high school esports offering, joining League of Legends, Fortnite, SMITE, and Rocket League as official titles.
Additionally, PlayVS announced the rollout of a two-league competition system that will feature varsity and recreational leagues. In partnership with the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS), 23 states will allow their schools to establish varsity esports teams to compete in state-wide championships. Currently, League of Legends and Rocket League will be the only games recognized as varsity esports, but according to an announcement, more are to be added soon. Schools will be able to field one varsity team per game.
Recreational leagues will be available in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, offering the full suite of official PlayVS titles. There will be no limit on the number of teams that can represent a particular school.
Last September, PlayVS closed a $50M USD Series C investment round led by New Enterprise Associates, which brought the company’s total funding to $96M. Earlier this year, the company was recognized by Riot Games as the official provider of high school League of Legends.
The high school esports space is still very much in its infancy, with other platforms offering competition services as well such as High School Esports League. Where many traditional sports in the U.S. have created a direct path to the professional level through high school and college, the path to professional esports is less clear, and is not controlled by any third parties. As a result, there is an opportunity for scholastic esports programs to not only provide services to school, but to help define where high school esports fits into the overall esports ecosystem.