PlayVS, a startup looking to build a platform for high school esports competition, has successfully raised $30.5 million in Series B funding. Elysian Park Ventures, the investment arm of the Los Angeles Dodgers, led the investment round.
Raising funds for continuous expansion
The recent funding round follows the LA-based startup’s $15 million round in June. With the new cash influx, PlayVS looks to further expand and develop the infrastructure for high school esports competition. PlayVS is also partnering with Psyonix and Hi-Rez Studios, bringing popular titles Rocket League and SMITE to its inaugural season.
“PlayVS is in a position to truly transform the high school esports landscape, and we’re excited they have selected SMITE to be included in its inaugural competitive season,” Hi-Rez Studios Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer Todd Harris said in the press release. “Hi-Rez aspires to build a sustainable, community-driven ecosystem from structured youth play through professional leagues, and this PlayVS partnership is a key part of realizing that vision for SMITE.”
The funding round also included investments from Adidas and Samsung as well as rapper and entrepreneur Sean “Diddy” Combs.
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“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,” said PlayVS Founder and CEO Delane Parnell. “They collectively share our vision for what the future athlete looks like.”
“We strive to be at the forefront of innovation in sports and have been carefully searching for the right investment in esports,” said Tucker Kain, CFO of the LA Dodgers and Managing Partner of Elysian Park Ventures. “With PlayVS, we have found a model that works, built on a powerful platform that delivers an unparalleled player experience and will have a profound impact on the future of youth sports across the country.”
Back in September, high schools in Connecticut, Georgia, Kentucky, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island were among the early-access places where PlayVS was launching its Season Zero featuring League of Legends. Now, the company is expanding geographically, adding high schools in Alabama (AHSAA), Mississippi (MISSHSAA), and parts of Texas (TCSAAL).
With a program kicking off in February, PlayVS also joined forces with the National Federation of State High School Associations (NHFS). The organization writes the rules of competition for high school sports and activities in the United States.
“We have an opportunity to engage students in the life of the school with an activity that they might already be participating in on their own,” NFHS executive director Dr. Karissa Niehoff said in a statement. “Now, we bring that interest and activity together to combine it with all of the elements of sport that are so special: teamwork, camaraderie, collaboration, storylines, excitement and connection to a group.”
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