SAN ANTONIO – When you think of high school sports in Texas, you probably think about football, basketball and baseball, but there are thousands of kids who are active in their schools’ esports teams.
Northside Independent School District supports esports teams at 11 high schools and 21 middle schools, and there are even esports clubs at 44 NISD elementary schools.
What are esports?
Despite the growing popularity of esports, you may be wondering what they are.
To put it simply, it’s competitive video gaming.
NISD’s esports program
NISD’s Academic Technology Coordinator, Matt Frymire, said there are between 600 and 800 middle school and high school students participating in esports in the district.
The teams aren’t separated by grade level or skill level. There is one team for each of the participating schools.
“When we took a poll of participating students, a majority of them had never been involved in a district club or team activity prior to joining their campus esports program. These are students who did not have a community beforehand, and now they do,” Frymire said.
While most students participate in non-competitive “club” play at their campuses, some compete in scholastic leagues.
“We limit the number of students able to participate in intramural competitions to ensure that each campus only brings their best players,” Frymire said.
Intramural games include:
- Super Smash Bros. Ultimate (Middle and High School)
- Rocket League (High School Only)
- Mario Kart 8 (Middle and High School)
- League of Legends (High School Only)
There are local and online scholastic leagues that competitive players participate in, including:
- R20 Premiere
- Generation Esports (High School and Middle School Esports League)
- Texas Gaming Empire
- The Tournament SA
Fall 2023 tournament
The fall 2023 championships take place from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 9 at the Northside Activity Center located at 7001 Culebra Rd. The district’s top 8 middle school and high school Smash players and the top 4 Rocket League teams will compete for titles and trophies.
The competition will be broadcast on KSAT+ and the BGC app. Download the BGC app HERE.
There are even scholarships available in esports. Last year, Fred Leal from Holmes High School earned a full-ride scholarship to Texas A&M - San Antonio for playing Overwatch 2.
This year, some of the top esports players within the district include “Toffy!” at Holmes and “Rodent” at Warren for Smash players. Warren and Harlan have the top-ranked Rocket League teams right now.
How to stream esports on KSAT+
You can watch the fall 2023 championships from 8 a.m. to noon on KSAT+.
KSAT Plus streams on the following devices for free:
- Smart TVs
- Apple TV
- Amazon Fire TV
- You can also watch KSAT 12 on your computer at KSAT.com/tv