E-Sports Are Big Business And Online Training Gives High School Students A Head Start

Originally published in Forbes- May 13th, 2020

The business of esports is booming so much that its revenue totals are projected to be on par with other sports in a normal year when games are occurring on regular basis.

According to NewZoo, a top provider of esports analytics, business in that relatively new business channel of sports will see significant growth in revenue and participants.

Global esports revenues are projected to reach $1.1 billion this year, a one-year growth of 15.7 percent from 2019. And within that realm are the fact that $822.4 million of the revenue stream will come from media rights and sponsorship partially due to an increase of 11.7 percent to 495 million.

Recently to help fans deal with the loss of games due to the coronavirus pandemic, ESPN ran an NBA2K tournament that was won by Phoenix Suns star Devon Booker and MLB Network showed a Player’s Tournament of MLB The Show won by Tampa Bay Rays left-handed Blake Snell.

With those facts in mind, comes the existence of Destinations Coding camp, a free online summer camp for high schoolers nationwide that provides the tools and guidance on developing their own sports video games and simulations while using code to develop those games and scenarios within the game.

According to Program Manager Brad Christopherson, the program and esports leagues are designed with the purpose of getting interested students into sports via a different route besides becoming professional players.

“There's a huge industry that’s growing with esports,” Christopherson said in a phone interview last week. “What we want to do with esports is beyond just the games and playing — which you have you own values in that — you can learn the team and everything. We’re also creating programs around it where we are teaching networking and business management and there is even a realm for health in the fact that we have sports psychologists, the same you would need for an NBA team, you need that for competitive teams. There are tons of industry built around this.”

In other words, there are ways to build teams like a real-life front office might build in one of the major sports leagues. Though this is not taking place within the framework of Madden football games of NBA2K.

Instead it’s taking place within leagues for games such as Fortnite, which is extremely popular among major leaguers. It also is occurring in leagues for other games such as League of Legends, Super Smash Brothers and Rocket League

A typical league will consist of 10 to 12 teams and then these teams will do things like a sports teams does such as honing their skills through practices and leadership meetings. According to xx, a typical game can take as little as 10 minutes.

Getting to be involved in a league also comes after a normal process for high school team with tryouts and one outcome can be full scholarships for college. At the collegiate level there are over 130 college esports programs, mostly through the National Association of Collegiate Esports that was founded in 2016 and among the Division One football schools with an esports program are Boise State, Florida State, Kent State, Miami (Ohio), Air Force, Cal-Berkeley, Missouri, Oregon, Oklahoma, Southern California and Utah.

Besides the gaming aspect is what goes into making those games happen and that’s where the more technical aspect comes into play such as the code languages that make the games run.

"Coding is a part of the esports industry,” said Ben Leskovansky an information technology instructor at the K12-powered Insight Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School. “It's not all of it but it’s a great segue for students who may be interested in a career in coding and kind of seeing how they can integrate that into the esports industry, especially if they're passionate about comp video gaming and that's sort of our hope for this summer camp."

The coding involved in games can be as basic as HTML for less complex games to JavaScript and CSS. After those languages as part of the basics, the codes involved in the game engine which make the plays unfold come into play and students learn languages such as C-sharp and C-++

"The biggest message is that's it’s an industry with a lot of opportunity. The way I compare it is to the NFL,” Leskovansky said. “Not every kid out there is going to be a professional football player but they can get involved in the sport as a statistician, commentator, coach and manager. If you're passionate about it, there's definitely a career out there for you.”

To learn more about Destination Career Academy and Insight School of Pennsylvania visit https://www.destinationsacademy.com/ and https://pa.insightschools.net/

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