Should Esports be in Aberdeen High School?

Sean Michalek, Writer

What is Esports?

Esports, short for Electronic Sports, has surged in popularity recently with the creation of games like Rainbow Six Siege, The Battlefield & Call Of Duty Series, and also with the resurge in popularity in games like Valve Corporations Dota 2 & Riot Games League of Legends (LoL). Esports is also called Competitive Gaming or “Not an actual sport” by older folk. In basic terms, it’s either a one v one match between people who are considered the best players of the game or it’s a 4 v 4 Team Match between players that are either the best at the game or the best players in the Genre.

Esports in Cable Networks

The audience that Esports reach is small, and Cable companies aren’t helping, since most streams of Esports events are on Twitch, YouTube, Microsoft’s Mixer, and websites owned by both ESL and MLG. In the United States, as recently as 2014, did the Walt Disney Company, which owns ABC & ESPN (and all it’s sub channels), start bringing Esports into the general spotlight.

In 2014, for the first time in US Cable Television History ESPN3 did a Half Hour Special profiling the tournament, The International 2014.

In 2015 ESPN2 broadcasted the Heroes of the Storm collegiate tournament named Heroes of the Dorm, a collaborative tournament hosted by HOTS’s Creators Blizzard Studios & Tespa, the problem with this Broadcast was that it wasn’t available on any streaming sites such as Twitch or YouTube which caused the overall fanbase that regularly watched on streaming sites to not see the Tournament.

In September of 2015, Turner Broadcasting, a subsidiary of WarnerMedia (Time Warner Inc.) which became a Subsidiary of AT&T in 2016 & William Morris Endeavor Entertainment LLC (WME or WME/IMG) and three months later started two seasons of ELeague, a Valve Company’s Counter-Strike Global Offensive based league only accessible to US Esports teams, these seasons appeared on Streaming sites and TBS simultaneously.

In January 2016, the publishers of the Call of Duty & Starcraft series, two major games played in Esports, Activision Blizzard acquired the company Major League Gaming, in a New York Time interview Activision CEO Robert Kotick hoped that with this acquisition they could create a Cable Station similar to ESPN.

In April of 2016, the Big Ten Network, a College Football Sports Network based out of Chicago, & Riot Games collaborated to hold an invitational LoL competition between two Universities from the Big Ten Conference as part of Riot’s collegiate championships at PAX East, a Gaming Convention usually held in Boston, MA.

In July 2018, Blizzard and the Walt Disney Company made a multi-year deal that gave ESPN & ABC the ability to broadcast the Overwatch League and the Overwatch World Cup.

So, Esports is slowly coming into general play, which is also a reason for its recent explosion back into popularity.

Esports in General

Electronic Sports are something all gamers get around, some may call the completive gaming community sweaty try-hards, and that’s fine, the Casual Gaming Community is the same way, wither they know it or not. Back to my original point, Esports is something that is important to the geek community. Whether it’s Pokémon Company Sanctioned Video Game Comps, to Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 Tournaments, it brings us together to enjoy something that enjoy normally. But, you know, with money involved.

Esports in High Schools

Currently the only thing I could find relating to Esports leagues in High Schools is something called High School Esports League (so properly named right?), and after looking at this, I found out that, the only High School in Harford County that is apart of this league is the John Carroll School located outside of Bel Air, But my question to you is this, you’ve been in the library every morning correct? You’ve seen the people who play Smash on the Wii or the people who play Magic the Gathering correct? Well my question is this, if we channeled these geeks and all our PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC gamers into one club that could make the school better, finically and moral wise, as well as help shut in gamers break out of the shell of their bedroom and make friends they can play with, not only through their High School Career but through the rest of their adult lives as well? Here’s my suggestion, Mr. O’Brian, if you even read the School Newspapers Website, I ask that you think about this, do some research of your own on this topic, I wouldn’t mind helping open up a Esports oriented club and get it available through the HSEL, this could benefit not only the School or it’s students, but also the School District, and whoever the Superintend for Harford County Schools, listen, I know that your possibly a old person who could never understand why Video games are Popular and as well thinks that Esports isn’t even a real sport, I ask of you the same thing, do research on this topic, on how it may benefit the School District, it’s schools and it’s students, and dear reader, the Aberdeen High School Student who is reading this and is soon about to spread it across the school, yes you! Think about this, think about how richer the school may become making your life, the teacher’s life, and everyone else’s life better.