The NFHS and their partnership with PlayVS is expanding to include Alabama this coming spring as the PlayVS platform continues to expand. PlayVS announced today that it has received Series B funding of $30.5 million from multiple investors led by Elusian Park Ventures, the private investment arm of the Los Angeles Dodgers ownership group. Other groups investing include Adidas, Samsung NEXT, Sean “Diddy” Combs and more.

PlayVS also announced new game partnerships with Psyonix and Hi-Rez Studios, joining Riot Games. Riot developed the popular multiplayer online battle arena League of Legends, which was the sole game in the first “Season 0” this past fall which the AHSAA did not participate in. Psyonix publishes Rocket League while Hi-Rez publishes another MOBA, SMITE.

SMITE and League of Legends are free-to-play games with microtransactions, but through these partnerships, students will have full access to these games as part of their PlayVS league participation fee. For free-to-play games, students will receive in-game perks like champions being unlocked and for paid games (such as Rocket League), publishers will provide copies of their game to every school competing on the PlayVS platform. All of this ensures a level playing field.

Rocket League is a sports-action game that combines soccer with driving and is available on all major gaming platforms. Students participating in the PlayVS league will compete in the 3v3 mode on PC. The goal of a game is for the three players on each team to score as many goals as they can within a five-minute match. The game has a player-base of over 50 million players.

SMITE is developed by Georgia-based developer Hi-Rez Studios who has also developed games like Paladins, Realm Royale and Tribes: Ascend. The game is a MOBA much like League of Legends and is a 5v5 game where players work together on their team to level up their characters and try to destroy the enemy base before the opposing team can. SMITE has amassed over 25 million players.

Season 0 saw Georgia, Connecticut, Kentucky, Massachusetts and Rhode Island all compete in League of Legends. Now with the addition of these two new games, Alabama, Mississippi and parts of Texas will join. Additionally, PlayVS will launch club leagues in Florida, Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Texas.

When will the first season start for Alabama?

The inaugural season is set to begin the week of February 25 and end in April with the playoffs taking place in May. The last day for schools to register for the inaugural season is February 8.

According to the release, each state will host an end-of-season live state championship event in May, crowning champions through a postseason, single-elimination bracket. States will be divided into multiple conferences where conference champions will then advance to the semi-finals. The two winners will compete for the championship.

How many students can participate at each school?

There is no limit to how many unique teams a school can have, which is expected to create a “no-cut” environment so everyone can participate on the varsity level. League of Legends and SMITE are played in teams of five players while Rocket League is played in teams of three players.

Specifics aren’t known yet about the full roster of schools from the AHSAA and what games each school will be competing in or how many teams each school will have per game.

How much does it cost for a student to participate?

The season participation fee for each student is $64 and can be paid by a parent, school or sponsor. This will get the student access to the PlayVS platform, their school’s team, and individual perks for whatever game they are participating in.

Where will these matches be played?

Students will play the majority of matches online through the PlayVS platform which will help schools save money on travel costs. The only in-person matches will be played in the championship in front of an audience.

On the PlayVS platform, players can see leaderboards, read gaming and league news, track season statistics, connect with college recruiters and more.

If you or your school is set to participate in the upcoming esports season for Alabama, let us know on Twitter @JoxPreps or shoot us an email! We’d love to follow and report on the first esports season.

You can read the full press release from PlayVS on the upcoming season here.