Georgia Magazine - January 2021 - 27

their home schools, eliminating the time and expense of travel. But when
they do, as Pickens did for 2019's Rocket League championship in Macon,
they often are greeted by a cheering section. Pickens football and baseball
players come to cheer on their teammates in a different field, Nix says. After
all, they're all playing the same video games against one another at home
for fun.
" It's taking something that they thought was 'theirs' and making it a
school event, " he says.

COURTESY PEACH BELT CONFERENCE

After graduation, high school players can continue gaming on varsity
or club teams at most Georgia colleges and universities. The National Association of College Esports has three member schools in Georgia, and the
Savannah College of Art and Design has a dedicated esports facility, where
its two varsity teams compete.
In 2017, the collegiate Peach Belt Conference (PBC), based in
Martinez, became the first NCAA Division I, II or III sports conference to
officially sponsor esports as a league. Commissioner Dave Bruck said the
league began as a student-affairs-driven initiative at member schools.
Since then, the PBC has grown to 17 members, including Hawaii-Pacific
University in Honolulu. 
While the PBC teams play regular-season games remotely, " we are the
first league to require the top eight teams in our championship to compete
in person, " Bruck says.
Esports appeals to STEM (science, technology, engineering and math)
students and bolsters computer offerings at schools as well as marketing,
broadcasting and video production. Many schools have taken notice;
200 colleges and universities nationwide have offered $16 million in
scholarships to esports athletes.
The Georgia Esports League has awarded a total of $20,000 to both
players and " shoutcasters, " students who stream and offer commentary for
competitions. The goal is to see the technology, teamwork, leadership and
communication skills that go into gaming translate into future careers. At
least four schools in Georgia offer degrees in game design, and more than

The 2019 Peach Belt Conference League of Legends Championship was hosted
by Lander University in Greenwood, S.C. Columbus State Universtiy, Augusta
University, Georgia College & State University, Young Harris College and Georgia
Southwestern State University all sent teams to the competition, which was won
by the University of South Carolina Aiken.

COURTESY OF N2 ESPORTS

Play on!

Isaiah and Jayden win an N2 Esports Youth Fortnite Youth
League competition last February at the E Center in
Sugar Hill.

5,000 students have graduated with cyber or gamingrelated degrees.

Gaming is big business
And the popularity of gaming follows students
into adulthood. In 2014, the ESPN Magazine esports
edition reported that 30 million people watched the
League of Legends world championship round-an
audience that was bigger than those reported for professional football's Super Bowl, pro baseball's World
Series or pro hockey's Stanley Cup finals.
A study by the Georgia Department of Economic
Development and the Georgia Tech Enterprise Innovation Institute points to 12,000 jobs associated
with the digital entertainment industry in Georgia,
with a yearly economic impact of $550 million.
Globally, there are expected to be some 500 million
esports viewers and 2.5 billion participants, with an
economic impact of more than $1.5 billion in the next
several years.
The city of Atlanta has three professional esports
teams: the Atlanta Reign, which plays in the Overwatch League; the Hawks Talon GC in the NBA 2K
League; and the Atlanta FaZe in the Call of Duty
League. 
" Kids used to want to grow up to be rock stars,
but today they want to be YouTube stars, and the
most popular [career] is gaming, " Greenberg says.
Rosalyn Dunn is a freelance writer living in
Atlanta.

For more information
* Georgia High School Association, ghsa.net/esports
* Georgia Esports League, bit.ly/gaesport
* Georgia Game Developers Association, ggda.org
www.georgiamagazine.org

27


http://www.ghsa.net/esports http://www.bit.ly/gaesport http://www.ggda.org http://www.georgiamagazine.org

Georgia Magazine - January 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Georgia Magazine - January 2021

Contents
Georgia Magazine - January 2021 - Intro
Georgia Magazine - January 2021 - Cover1
Georgia Magazine - January 2021 - Cover2
Georgia Magazine - January 2021 - Contents
Georgia Magazine - January 2021 - 4
Georgia Magazine - January 2021 - 5
Georgia Magazine - January 2021 - 6
Georgia Magazine - January 2021 - 7
Georgia Magazine - January 2021 - 8
Georgia Magazine - January 2021 - 9
Georgia Magazine - January 2021 - 10
Georgia Magazine - January 2021 - 11
Georgia Magazine - January 2021 - 12
Georgia Magazine - January 2021 - 13
Georgia Magazine - January 2021 - 14
Georgia Magazine - January 2021 - 15
Georgia Magazine - January 2021 - 16
Georgia Magazine - January 2021 - 17
Georgia Magazine - January 2021 - 18
Georgia Magazine - January 2021 - 19
Georgia Magazine - January 2021 - 20
Georgia Magazine - January 2021 - 21
Georgia Magazine - January 2021 - 22
Georgia Magazine - January 2021 - 22A
Georgia Magazine - January 2021 - 22B
Georgia Magazine - January 2021 - 22C
Georgia Magazine - January 2021 - 22D
Georgia Magazine - January 2021 - 23
Georgia Magazine - January 2021 - 24
Georgia Magazine - January 2021 - 25
Georgia Magazine - January 2021 - 26
Georgia Magazine - January 2021 - 27
Georgia Magazine - January 2021 - 28
Georgia Magazine - January 2021 - 29
Georgia Magazine - January 2021 - 30
Georgia Magazine - January 2021 - 31
Georgia Magazine - January 2021 - 32
Georgia Magazine - January 2021 - 33
Georgia Magazine - January 2021 - 34
Georgia Magazine - January 2021 - 35
Georgia Magazine - January 2021 - 36
Georgia Magazine - January 2021 - 37
Georgia Magazine - January 2021 - 38
Georgia Magazine - January 2021 - 39
Georgia Magazine - January 2021 - 40
Georgia Magazine - January 2021 - 41
Georgia Magazine - January 2021 - 42
Georgia Magazine - January 2021 - Cover3
Georgia Magazine - January 2021 - Cover4
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