Charlotte schools bringing esports to high schoolers

It’s gained traction at the college level with some universities offering programs but has been slow to find its way to high schools.

MECKLENBURG COUNTY, N.C. — Wednesday marks the very first time CMS debuts its varsity esports and STEM League. 

Esports is a form of competition using video games, usually streamed online. 

It’s gained traction at the college level with some universities offering programs but has been slow to find its way to high schools. 

More than 8,600 high schools have started video-gaming teams since 2018 after the National Federation of State High School Associations recognized the sport. There are more than 20,000 high schools nationwide.

“It’s been pretty uncommon at the high school level,” Charlie Mulligan, Director of Operations at Stiegler EdTech in Charlotte said. “And so CMS is a real early mover in this regard.” 

The competition will involve head-to-head matchups in a game called Rocket League with 12 CMS high schools kicking off the inaugural season. 

“Rocket League is kind of similar to soccer or hockey,” Mulligan said. “But you move the ball around using basically Hot Wheels, remote-controlled cars.” 

More than 500 CMS students signed up to play in the inaugural league but just 100 were selected to play at the varsity, junior varsity, and club level. 

“We’ve seen extremely young players actually go pro, and all sorts of different games in esports,” Mulligan said “You can make just as much money playing as a professional esports player as you know, professional football or basketball player.” 

A CMS grad helps produce the broadcast for hundreds to watch. 

“This is an opportunity for CMS to actually develop its own talent internally,” Mulligan said. 

Every Wednesday you’ll find weekly competitions produced and streamed live on Twitch, with professional esports commentators.

Members of the public can tune into the broadcasts, which will be hosted at, starting at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday nights through the end of the fall semester.

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