Inaugural championship features eight teams from seven school districts
RIVERSIDE – The first-ever Championship Tournament of the Riverside County Esports League is scheduled for January 11 from 9 am to 2 pm at Norco College (2001 3rd St., Norco) where students will compete on high school teams for first, second, and third-place championship trophies.
Students from Patriot, Centennial, Arlington, Roosevelt, Chaparral, Murrieta Valley, Orange Vista, and Paloma Valley 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 double elimination tournament until the top two teams remain.
The event is organized by RCOE Educational Technology Services (ETS) with significant support from Troxell and Norco College. While participant sign up is closed, spectators are welcome to attend to see which teams will win first, second, and third places. Admission is free.
“We’re very excited about our first-year launch of the RCOE Esports League, and now we are ready to crown our first-ever Riverside County Esports League Champion,” said Dr. Dennis Large, Director of Educational Technology. “It equips students with academic and interpersonal skill 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 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.
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 the 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.