ESports boom: EC leads way in Southwest Ohio


Sport grows as more than 50 high schools, 16 colleges offer electronic gaming

By Mark Huber - mhuber@wnewsj.com



An East Clinton ESports player during a match this week.

An East Clinton ESports player during a match this week.


Courtesy Photo

East Clinton is leading the way in Southwest Ohio as a school that offers ESports.

ESports is short for electronic sports. Electronic sports are competitive electronic games of strategy that can be played individually or as a team. The versatility of game-play and game genre make ESports one of the most versatile competitions in the world and also one of the most popular, according to the Esports Ohio website.

Although there are more than 50 high schools in Ohio that have ESports, East Clinton is the first in what is considered the Southwest Ohio area.

ESports was created to embrace electronic sports as a positive educational and developmental change agent for all students,” according to the ESports website. “Many colleges and universities have also started ESports in both competitive and educational arenas and are offering many scholarship opportunities. Ohio State University just announced major commitment to ESports.

“The video gaming industry is estimated to be over $137 billion, which creates a need for developers, designers and marketers in the workforce that are not there as of now.”

Chillicothe and Zane Trace are schools to the immediate east of East Clinton with ESports. Though two schools in Columbus have ESports, the two closest schools directly north of East Clinton are St. Henry and Indian Lake. There are no schools west of East Clinton with ESports, according to the Esports Ohio website.

“Our goal at East Clinton is to deliver experiences to students leading to higher education, career readiness, responsible citizenship and lifelong learning,” East Clinton assistant principal and athletic director Jim Marsh said.

David Boris the East Clinton ESports general manager while Caleb Olin is the coach.

“They have done a great job of organizing the opportunity for our students,” Marsh said. “Our students will compete in four leagues in both fall and winter seasons.”

East Clinton is in the League of Legends, Overwatch, Rocket League and Super Smash Bros. leagues. There are varsity, junior varsity and club matches.

As of now, East Clinton has 33 students participating in ESports. Marsh said approximately 85 percent of those students do not participate in any other extra-curricular activities.

“Mr. Marsh and I agreed this would be a great way to reach kids who may not play other sports to have a way of communication with others in a safe environment,” Boris said.

Other than Ohio State, Ohio colleges with ESports include Akron, Ashland, Defiance, Lourdes, Marietta, Kent State, Ohio Christian, Ohio Northern, Miami, Mount Vernon Nazarene, Mount St. Joseph, Mount Union, Muskingum, Rio Grande, Shawnee State and Tiffin.

Marsh said he has been asked how ESports qualifies as a sport. He said ESports is a sport because it is play-like in nature, requires physical and mental prowess, is competitive and has an uncertain outcome for each contest.

“We are adding value to the educational process of our student/athletes, by providing ESports,” he said.

In addition, Marsh said there are 315 colleges nationwide that offer ESports scholarships as well as degree programs in gaming, formatting and programming. Other industries, Marsh said, are using ESports to market their products.

An East Clinton ESports player during a match this week.
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2019/09/web1_ESP_eastclinton.jpgAn East Clinton ESports player during a match this week. Courtesy Photo
Sport grows as more than 50 high schools, 16 colleges offer electronic gaming

By Mark Huber

mhuber@wnewsj.com

Reach Mark Huber at 937-556-5765, via email mhuber@wnewsj.com or on Twitter @wnjsports

Reach Mark Huber at 937-556-5765, via email mhuber@wnewsj.com or on Twitter @wnjsports