Entrepreneurs, Esports, & Education
Entrepreneurs, Esports, & Education is an ongoing content series that highlights opportunities, best practices, and special topics at the intersection of entrepreneurship and scholastic esports
Part 1: The Opportunity (School Year 2020-2021)
While traditional sports have suffered mightily under self- and state-imposed lockdowns, gaming and esports are thriving. Along with this industry growth, high school and post-secondary educators are beginning to understand the positive benefits to their students and their schools. Everything from student engagement to college recruiting and enrollment can benefit from a strong esports program.
The scholastic esports space is growing. No longer a school-by-school ad hoc approach some state governments are beginning to take notice as well. This summer the state of Kansas allocated $554,000 esports infrastructure. Organizations that provide competitive and educational structure are growing, too. For Example, the High School Esports League just expanded into New Zealand and Australia.
Some great first movers in scholastic esports exist, such as EGF, NACE, HSEL, PlayVS, and Esports Supply. But a massive amount of opportunity still remains. Consider:
There are 51 state-level entities that need help figuring out the right way to bring esports into their secondary education systems.
According to the NCES, there were about 4,300 post-secondary schools in the U.S. with nearly 20,000,000 students. The vast majority of these students are gamers, and while many colleges and universities are starting esports programs, there is still no “best of breed”—they all have significant gaps in their programs, their offerings, and/or their execution.
There are about 24,000 public high schools in the U.S. with over 15,000,000 students. Like their higher education counterparts, esports programs are growing. However, the challenges at the high school level are perhaps even more pronounced than at the collegiate level.
Clearly, the scholastic esports market is massive, fragmented, and largely under-served. We encourage entrepreneurs to think about more than just the next high school/collegiate league or tournament. New ventures should be thinking about infrastructure and services that strengthen the entire educational esports experience, lifecycle, and ecosystem. Future installments of this series will explore what the “ideal scholastic esports program” looks like and where entrepreneurs can find opportunity.
What do you think the biggest opportunity in scholastic is? The biggest challenge? What companies or organizations are doing interesting things in scholastic esports?