Gaming has always been one of the world’s most massive niches, but as game-streaming and esports have drifted to the forefront of mainstream culture, it’s clear that there’s plenty of room left for the industry to expand. One harbinger of this shift has been the widespread adoption of esports leagues in high schools and colleges across the country, a movement that has pushed online gameplay as just another athletic program schools should be offering.
One of the central catalysts of this change has been Delane Parnell, whose company PlayVS has pushed school districts in the United States to embrace esports, all while courting venture capitalists to shower the startup with tens of millions in funding.
We’re amped to announce that Parnell is joining us at TechCrunch Disrupt in September to discuss the future of esports competition and gaming’s continued mainstream drift.
Parnell started PlayVS in 2018, hoping to bring high schools into the fold of esports competitions. Through an exclusive partnership with the NFHS (the NCAA of high schools), PlayVS enables schools across America to build teams and compete against neighboring schools on its platform.
Last year, the company picked up a $50 million Series C, bringing their total funding to a whopping $96 million. With the COVID-19 pandemic threatening the future of in-person sporting events at school districts, esports leagues are likely to be less impacted, an outcome that could gather even more momentum for the company’s platform.