High School Esports Company PlayVS Raises $30.5 Million Series B

By Noah Long ● November 22, 2018

PlayVS is a company that is building an infrastructure for high school esports that has raised $30.5 million in Series B funding led by Elysian Park Ventures — which is the private investment arm for the Los Angeles Dodgers ownership group.

Existing investors New Enterprise Associates, Science Inc., Crosscut Ventures, Coatue Management, and WndrCo also participated in this round. And new investors Adidas, Samsung NEXT, Plexo Capital, Sean “Diddy” Combs, David Drummond, Rahul Mehta, Rich Dennis, Michael Dubin, Nat Turner, and Johnny Hou also joined. It was only five months ago when PlayVS raised $15 million in Series A funding.

“We’re honored to have the support of the LA Dodgers, which has one of the best ownership groups in major league sports and are one of the earliest investors in esports. They collectively share our vision for what the future athlete looks like,” said PlayVS founder and CEO Delane Parnell in a statement. “One of the reasons we’re most excited about esports is accessibility. With this new round of funding and the addition of Rocket League and SMITE, we’re able to take another huge step forward as we open the pathway for more students to compete and be recognized in the burgeoning esports industry.”

eSports are a form of competition through video games, which are usually organized and multiplayer sessions between professional players. PlayVS has been adding popular game titles and more state associations in order to grow the high school esports’ audience and bring in more players interested in other game genres.

For example, PlayVS announced new partnerships with game companies Psyonix and Hi-Rez Studios. Psyonix is known for publishing Rocket League and Hi-Rez Studios publishes SMITE. These companies join League of Legends by Riot as part of PlayVS’ Inaugural Season that is starting in February and ending in April with the playoffs taking place in May.

Students will have access to these games as part of the PlayVS league participation fee. Students will receive in-game perks such as Champion Unlocked for League of Legends for free-to-play games. And for paid games, publishers will provide copies of their games to every school competing in their league on the PlayVS platform. This enables students to sharpen their skills throughout the season.

Along with being available at CIAC in Connecticut, GHSA and GISA in Georgia, KHSAA in Kentucky, MIAA in Massachusetts, and RIIL in Rhode Island, PlayVS is going to be expanding its markets to high schools within Alabama (AHSAA), Mississippi (MISSHSAA), and parts of Texas (TCSAAL). And PlayVS is launching new Club Leagues in Florida, Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Texas.