AP NEWS

AIA to add esports as high school activity

August 21, 2018 GMT

PHOENIX — The Arizona Interscholastic Association Executive Board approved esports as a sanctioned high school activity in its meeting on Monday.

Esports is a term used for competitive multiplayer video gaming, an activity that has exploded in popularity over the last decade. About 427 million people worldwide watch esports, according to a recent report from industry tracker Newzoo. Global revenues from the activity are expected to top $1 billion by next year.

The board stated that 25,000 Arizona high school students already compete in esports.

The first two video games that will be used in state competitions are Rocket League, a vehicular soccer game, and League of Legends, a fantasy battle arena game, both of which are played on the professional circuits.

As with all AIA sports, there will be a state championship.

Schools can begin competing in esports in February 2019.

Lake Havasu athletics director Brady Krueger said there is already a gaming club at the high school, but was unsure if there would be interest in starting an esports team.

“The esports thing is pretty new to all of us,” Krueger said. “I would assume there is going to be interest. E-gaming is growing, it’s getting bigger. We’ll have to gauge interest and see if there’s anything there.”