Competition will feature 78 students from 18 local school districts
RIVERSIDE – The semifinals of the first-ever tournament of the Riverside County Esports League are scheduled for December 7 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Riverside County Office of Education (RCOE), 4th floor Board Room, (3939 13th Street, Riverside). A total of 78 students will compete on school teams for the chance to advance to the championship round.
The event is organized by RCOE Educational Technology Services (ETS) with significant support from Troxell and Norco College. Thirteen teams from south Riverside County will compete in the morning tournament and 12 teams from north Riverside County will compete in the afternoon. The top four teams from each semifinal will advance to the inaugural tournament championship on January 11 at Norco College.
Students from Corona-Norco, Desert Sands, Hemet, Jurupa, Lake Elsinore, Moreno Valley, Murrieta, Nuview, Perris Union High School, Riverside, Riverside County Education Academy (RCEA) – Indio and Moreno Valley, RCOE – Arlington Regional Learning Center, San Jacinto, Temecula, and Val Verde school districts will display their skills in the popular video game, “Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.” School teams will battle each other through several rounds in winners and redemption brackets as part of a double elimination tournament until the top four teams remain. While participant sign up is closed, spectators are welcome to attend to see which teams advance to the finals. Admission is free.
“We’re very excited about our first-year launch of the RCOE Esports League,” said Dr. Dennis Large, Director of Educational Technology. “It equips students with academic and interpersonal skills that are beneficial to their future. Esports and STEM go hand-in-hand.”
Dr. Large commented that students drawn to gaming are captivated by the broader technology ecosystem. Sponsors at both the high school and college levels report a substantial number of their esports participants are interested in science, technology, engineering, and math. In addition, NASEF (North America Scholastic Esports Federation) received approval of esports-themed English curriculum in California for 9th through 12th grade education.
Esports teaches leadership, communication, perseverance, and determination, the same skills gained from participation in other sports. Esports programs are also inclusive and open to all students. This gives students the opportunity to form connections in ways they might not have thought possible. Esports is closely connected to Game and Digital Media Design, but it also supports academic programs that focus on art, writing, marketing, graphic or website design, science, and strategy.
“I’m excited and thrilled for our first-ever Esports Semifinal Tournaments,” commented Riverside County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Judy White. “Like many high school clubs and sports, esports helps students learn valuable skills that will serve them well throughout their life. Among the skills developed are strategic thinking, teamwork, collaboration, goal setting, preparation, and managing success and failure.”
The global esports market is valued at $612 million, with an audience of 134 million, according to SuperData, and it is only predicted to grow. Universities across the United States are diving into this emerging market with scholarship programs and competitive teams.
This year RCOE’s Educational Technology Services had a year of “firsts” including a programming competition in April and a Computer Science Community Summit held in May, and the launch of an esports league in July. ETS supports the districts of Riverside County in the implementation of technology initiatives and provides guidance for programs including online and blended learning, flipped classroom, mobile device deployment, and strategic planning.