The British Esports Association has announced details of its first full competitive gaming Championships for schools, colleges and alternative provision schools.
The not-for-profit organisation has entered into a partnership with streaming programme Twitch Student to grow the British Esports Championships and help give students support and opportunities.
In addition, a new partnership has been formed with AoC Sport (part of the Association of Colleges) and the British Esports Association to provide management and oversight of the competition via the College Esportscommittee. This new committee will ensure that esports is properly managed in colleges and is positioned as part of a balanced lifestyle alongside education and physical activity.
The British Esports Championships is for students aged 12-19, with each school or college allowed to enter teams for three different games. The first confirmed game is 5v5 League of Legends.
The Championships will begin on October 10th and run for two seasons, the first consisting of eight weeks of fixtures with breaks for half term and the second running in the New Year. The first six weeks will feature a Swiss tournament format, with Playoffs taking place during the remaining weeks.
Matches will take place for 90 minutes onafternoonsafter school or college, avoiding conflict with Wednesday afternoon sport or classes.
Depending on the number of sign ups, schools and colleges will be split into their respective regions. The top two from each region will get promoted to a Super League for Season 2.
The live finals are set to take place at the Insomnia gaming festival in Easter 2019 at the Birmingham NEC.
Team sign-ups will open in the first week of September and will close on September 26th. Visit the dedicated Championships information coming soon on www.britishesports.org to sign up or read more information.
In terms of partnerships, the British Esports Association will adopt the Twitch Student Program, which helps schools and colleges learn how to stream so that friends, parents and others can watch their matches and other gaming activities live online. It has already been working with a number colleges in the US, universities in the UK and now it’s embracing the UK schools and colleges space.
Twitch Student gives users access to ‘swag’ and privileges as they level up, such as special streaming features, subscription buttons and the chance to earn revenues, Twitch homepage promotions and more. It also helps students pitch their gaming ideas or community projects to teachers and schools.
Mark “Garvey” Candella, Twitch Director of Strategic Partnerships, commented: “The British Esports Association and Twitch Student program share a belief in the ability of students to grasp the entrepreneurial spirit inherent in gaming and esports, while applying their education in new and innovative ways.
“The combination of passion and education can only lead to more opportunities for themselves and this exciting industry. We are proud to work with the British Esports Association on helping students realise their potential through the practical experience this program creates.”
In addition to the support of Twitch, the new College Esports committee will be working with the British Esports Association to promote the Championships to colleges throughout the UK.
AoC Sport says it’s been encouraged by the work of the British Esports Association in drawing parallels between physical sports and esports, engaging with education as well as developing skills in communication, problem solving, teamwork and more.
Marcus Kingwell, Managing Director of AoC Sport, said: “We see esports as a route to engaging inactive students in colleges and encouraging them to engage in physical activity. We’re delighted to be working with the British Esports Association as part of the College Esports committee, ensuring that esports is properly managed in colleges and is part of a balanced lifestyle alongside education and physical activity.”
British Esports chair Andy Payne OBE added: “It’s fantastic to be teaming up with Twitch Student and AoC Sport and to have the backing of organisations well engrained in both gaming and college sports. We look forward to growing the British Esports Championships together.”
The announcement follows a successful pilot which took place in schools and colleges from January to April and saw Solihull School and Sunderland College win the respective Championships. The pilot allowed the British Esports Association to create a safe online environment for students aged 12-19 to play age-appropriate esports. It fostered talent, championed positive role models, promoted leadership, communication, creativity and teamwork skills and its work is supported by multiple government departments.
The pilot brought pupils together, improved relations with teachers, developed employability skills, helped schools raise awareness of their activities and secure funding. It also drew national attention including coverage from the BBC, Sky, Daily Mail and more.
The news also comes after British Esports appointed Natacha Jones as Student Esports Coordinator to develop the British Esports Championships.
Since January, Natacha has held the role of Twitch Student Program Manager at the National University Esports League, tracking the success of a pilot scheme for UK universities.
She will be working closely with schools and colleges as part of the British Esports Championships and helping them integrate with the Twitch Student Program.