Video games, also known as E-Sports, have seen a surge in popularity recently. Many high schools have noticed this rapidly growing phenomenon, and have taken it upon themselves to create a new school sport. E-Sports teams are trending nationwide, but many know little to nothing about them or are even aware of their existence. Having these teams creates an opportunity for students who might be unable to compete in a traditional team setting, and helps increase their sense of school pride.
Colleges and universities across the country have also noticed this trend, and several now have teams and offer virtual sports scholarships. For students who might not be able to further their education without a scholarship, this creates a greater opportunity to attend a college or university. Not everyone is an extremely gifted athlete, or even physically capable of playing. There are those who rely on sports like football to get them into college, but only around 5.8% of all high school football players are picked up by an NCAA team.
The National Association of Collegiate E-Sports (NACE) was founded in 2016 and had its first full season in 2017. The championship of the inaugural season was televised on the Big Ten Network (BTN), a national station dedicated to covering college sports. NACE is rapidly growing, having just twelve participating colleges to begin with, which swelled to 70 by 2018. More schools are joining all the time, and many offer up to 50% off tuition and 50% off room and board to their team members.
Sports and athletics are not the only types of scholarships students can earn. Scholarships range from academic to ancestry to community service and everything in between. Adding E-Sports to the list opens doors for students all over the country.
This fall, SkoolLive has added a College Directory to the digital kiosks in which colleges, junior colleges, and universities all across the nation are featured. In the directory, schools can highlight programs they wish to be found for, including their E-Sports teams. Thus, connecting students to schools, opportunities, and scholarships they might not have been aware of.