Phenix City School District to add ESports this fall as an option

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By Blenda Copeland

Virtual sports – Esports – through video games – are coming to the Phenix City School District this fall.

The Phenix City Board of Education approved at its June 28 meeting preliminary details that would allow for an Esports coach and allow teams to form.

According to information released by the school district, there is a fall and a spring season, and all games will be broadcast on the NFHS network. Schools may have one or multiple teams of five members each and are required to have jerseys.

Currently, 10 to 15 states – including Mississippi and Georgia – are competing in ESports, where players pay monthly $20 fees to access the online platforms for practice/playing time, unless they opt for the $60 per season fee.

So far, revealed games cover football, basketball and vehicular soccer (cars are the players, not people): Madden NFL Football, NBA2K and Rocket League – a vehicular soccer game (instead of people the players are cars).

There’s also room for the imagination and strategic thinking, with mythically-based games like SMITE, where players play as a mythological god or goddess in a team-based combat strategy game and League of Legends, a multiplayer battle arena game.

According to information provided, all five team members will compete simultaneously against another school, and, if Central High School has multiple teams, they would compete on separate days of the week.

At this point, Superintendent Randy Wilkes said he doesn’t know too much more, except that Esports has room to grow in the district, if the trend’s popularity continues.