ARLINGTON, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – Competitive high school esports gets a boost this weekend, teaming up with professional players at a weekend tournament in Arlington.
The Dallas Fuel, one of the region’s pro-gaming teams, opens its season in the Overwatch League Saturday and Sunday at Esports Stadium Arlington. Right beside them though, will be the next generation of players aiming to be part of the billion-dollar business.
Burleson ISD is teaming with the Fuel to host the Esports Winter Invitational, a K-12 amateur matchup on Saturday, with students competing in games including Fortnite, Rocket League, Super Smash Bros. and Minecraft.
BISD is one of the area districts that has embraced gaming, with an entire learning model wrapped around the idea. As many as 50 students play competitively, applying concepts to everything from coding to marketing to design.
“There are so many skills that are behind all this,” said school board representative Pat Worrell. “The coding, and the learning how to get along, and to articulate what they understand and share that. They can talk the talk.”
Gaming is forecast to grow into a $1.3 billion industry in 2020, with top players bringing in more than $3 million in prize money.
Colleges including UT Dallas, UT Arlington and Texas Wesleyan have developed programs for hopeful competitors.
And players, like Jacob “Jeckup” Perez, on the Burleson Vortex, relish the chance to play in the same venue with the pros.
“It was always so amazing to see some of the top players, and what they can do. And it’s something I’ve always wanted to do, to be really amazing at something like that.”