AIA, CSL Esports enter partnership to boost esports experience
May 19, 2022 by Seth Polansky, AZPreps365
The Arizona Interscholastic Association has entered into a partnership with CSL Esports to become the new official esports platform of the AIA. With this agreement, the AIA and CSL will be able to implement many positive changes that will help grow the activity among the association’s member schools.
Schools and teams will still be able to compete in popular games that have previously been offered. However, now the AIA esports season will solely take place in the spring with 11 weeks of competition followed by postseason tournaments. The fall season will still be open for any teams wishing to compete in exhibition matches.
“We're excited to bring esports to the next level within the AIA and firmly believe CSL is the right partner to do that with us,” said Brian Bolitho, AIA Director for Business Development. “The pricing for the schools is going to be something that creates an avenue for more schools to get involved. Come the spring of 2023 esports will have a much bigger presence on AZPreps365 with teams, schedules, scores and more to bring it in line with all the other sports that fans see on the site.
With CSL, the entry fees will be $1,800 per school per year, no matter how many teams compete or number games the teams will participate in. This rate will be locked in for three years.
Additionally, with CSL’s help and expertise, the platform will reside exclusively on AZPreps365.com’s esports page (https://www.azpreps365.com/esports). This will allow schools to access and register for games, standings, schedules, calendars and AIA information all in one place.
"Enabling education and healthy habits through structured competition is a core component of CSL Esports at all levels of play," said CSL Esports CEO Rob Johnson. "Our involvement at the high school level is not to risk increases in screen time, but to facilitate team-focused, organized esports that helps open doors for gamers to find opportunities for continued play in higher education, as well as careers in STEM down the road."
“Esports continues to get bigger and better. And our most recent championship season proved that,” said AIA Executive Director David Hines. “We’re committed to increasing opportunities for students across the state. And CSL is able to help us with this goal by providing a top-notch infrastructure. We’re looking forward to seeing what CSL has to offer our teams next season.”
As esports continue to grow among member schools, the AIA and CSL will work together to reformat and re-engage the AIA Esports Advisory Committee to set rules and regulations for seasons to come, as well as discuss additional games to possibly play in the future.
“Arizona esports has been an amazing addition to high school sports and activities. As a coach I have seen esports motivate my athletes to be better academic students,” added Kenya Corrigan, who will take over as Gilbert High School’s esports coach next year. “I’m excited for our new partnership with CSL. I believe this will help us grow. Esports has a great future that will provide more opportunities for our students across the state for careers and post-secondary education.”
AIA esports completed another successful season April 30 with Higley winning the title in League of Legends, Apollo emerging as champions in Super Smash Bros, and Brophy Prep continuing its online prowess with another championship in Rocket League. Finals competition took place at Pure Esports at Superstition Springs in Mesa.
About CSL Esports, A Playfly Sports Company
CSL Esports oversees operations, marketing, and business development for NACE Starleague, North America’s largest collegiate league with over 650 colleges and nearly 14,000 students, as it advances the competitive experience for student-athletes and provides them with an ideal place to showcase their skills. CSL Esports works with scholastic partners at all levels including colleges & universities, state and local high school districts, athletic and activities associations, departments of education, and parks & recreation in this new endeavor. www.cslesports.com
About Playfly Sports
Playfly Sports is a full-service sports marketing company operating where sports marketing, media & technology converge. Playfly Sports drives outcome-based solutions for brands reaching approximately 83% of all US sports fans generating over 230bn impressions each year in pro, college, and high school sports. Utilizing the influence and durability of local sports fandom, Playfly Sports exclusive rights in the NBA, NHL, MLB, NCAA, esports, and high school sectors drive value for our local, regional, and national brand partners. Playfly’s insights-infused multimedia and tech platforms drive innovation through scaled linear, digital, in-venue, and experiential marketing and engagement assets. Playfly Sports has the unique ability to partner, innovate, and advance the aspirations of athletes, brands, academic institutions, and sports fans across the U.S. Playfly Sports is Igniting Brands through the Love of Fans. Visit Playfly Sports online at playfly.com and follow Playfly Sports on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook: @PlayflySports. www.playfly.com
About Arizona Interscholastic Association
The AIA is a voluntary association of public and private Arizona high schools. Since 1913, the organization has created and sustained interscholastic activities that encourage maximum student participation by providing AIA member schools with an even playing field to ensure fair and equitable competition. The AIA believes that providing interscholastic activities for Arizona high school students creates personal development opportunities with a balanced focus on academics and extracurricular activities. Through its Arizona member schools, the AIA reaches more than 100,000 participants in high school activity programs. The organization hosts 5,000 championship contests and officiates more than 45,000 regular season games. For more information, visit www.aiaonline.org and www.azpreps365.com.