One of the things that makes the flourishing world of Esports the marvel it is, is the colossal amount of enthusiasm the stakeholders have despite the deficiency of necessary infrastructure to support this enthusiasm. In essence, Esports is growing quite fast and thus the normal processes involved in the formation of regulatory bodies as well as other structures are bound to be outpaced.
Some of the people who have been affected most by this situation are high school students and their teachers who hope to participate in various Esports activities. Unlike many other similar activities, such as traditional sports where there are bodies to guide their actions, they have been forced to self-organize due to the lack of official bodies to guide them. However, this is all about to take a turn for the better.
PlayVS, a startup that specializes in building infrastructure to support high school Esports, has recently received a massive round of funding from a star-studded high profile investors including an assortment of venture capital groups, the San Francisco 49ers, hip-hop artist Nas, New York Jets’ Kelvin Beachum, Los Angeles Chargers’ Russel Okung, Twitch co-founder Kevin Lin and NBA all-star Baron Davis.
According to a report by ESPN, the valuation of the company is now somewhere around $50 million. This gives PlayVS a better shot at achieving their goal of developing software to formalize high school Esports competitions. The platform serves as an all-in-one online portal for students and the administration in addition to being an access portal to a select number of some of the most popular Esports titles. The platform also allows for setting and scheduling of matches, tracking and collection of player stats, as well the auto-reporting of wins and losses to prevent cheating.
Working with the NFHS
As it stands, PlayVS is the only private company that is has been officially sanctioned by the National Federation of State High Schools (NFHS) which is a non-profit organization that publishes the rules for most high school sports and performing arts activities across the United States. The NFHS will be rolling out Esports exclusively on the PlayVS Web app and this extends the company’s reach to 19,500 high schools.
“Esports sort of has this task—this mountain task—to become multigenerational. If a sport has a strong and a stable high school system, then that sport typically not only has staying power but it also lasts for multiple generations at the pro level,” says Delane Parnell, the PlayVS founder and CEO. “With our funding, 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.”
In October this year, PlayVS in, collaboration with the NFHS, will launch its inaugural season, a venture that will bring organized Esports to over 18 states and about 5 million students from 5,000 different high schools.