The first week of April, the Statesboro Bulloch County Parks and Recreation Department (SBCPRD) was placed on furlough during COVID-19. “What do we do now?” was the question on the minds of the Athletics team. E-Sports was the answer. E-Sports had been on the department’s radar for some time as an up and coming trend, but staff never dreamed they’d be doing E-Sports rather than on-the-field sports!
“We have been in talks with local businesses, like Bulloch Telephone, who were interested in assisting the department in getting E-Sports off the ground here in Statesboro, “ says Athletic Supervisor, Dadrian Cosby. “We just never thought it would be this early nor in place of our regular sports. The virus changed our direction for the time being, but the outcome has been positive.”
SBCPRD opened two E-Sports leagues in early May — The Show 2020 (Playstation only) and Madden 2020 (Playstation and Xbox). Beginning with age 7, the leagues were offered up to age 17.
“In hindsight we realized that we needed an 18+ league where we believe we may get an even larger audience,” says Athletic Superintendent Darryl Hopkins. “We will add an adult league during our next offering of leagues.”
The Show had 15 kids to register for the league and Madden had 22 kids to register. Leagues are five weeks long with two games each week with kids playing in the comfort of their own homes. At the end of the league, there will be a single-elimination tournament based on standings.
An award, gift cards from local businesses, will be given to the first and second place league winners, as well as, tournament winners.
“We felt kids would want something practical that they could use and the gift cards, while small, will help them purchase something they want,” says Ronald Smith, Athletic Supervisor.
League fees were only $8 per participant. “We thought this was a fair price during this difficult time, but it still allowed us to be able to purchase the awards,” says Hopkins.
The rules and standings, which are updated following each day of games, are available for viewing at www.bullochrec.com/e-sports.
“We look forward to returning to on-the-field sports very soon, but in the meantime, will offer virtual options like E-sports,” says Hopkins. Visit www.bullochrec.com or call (912) 764-5637 to learn more about what the department is offering.