You may not have noticed, but esports, also known as competitive video gaming, is a billion-dollar industry. It’s true. The esports ecosystem is set to reach a billion dollars in revenue in 2020, according to Business Insider. That number is only expected to increase in the coming years.

Sometimes derided as a “not a real sport,” esports has permeated culture in a way that is impossible to ignore, and you don’t have to look further than Cincinnati to recognize its growing appeal. Miami University recently joined a standalone esports conference with other schools in the Mid-American Conference that allows gamers to play in college. These players will be eligible for athletic scholarships and could attract more students to attend college, helping legitimize the sport further. FC Cincinnati also joined the ranks of countless other professional sport organizations when it brought in professional gamer Gordon Thornsberry to compete in eMLS back in November 2018.

Now the esports craze is coming to school districts near you. The Forest Hills School District recently created an esports team that will play games such as Overwatch and Super Smash Bros. These games were selected due to being age appropriate and because talented athletes can earn college scholarships to play these games.

“This is giving students an opportunity to wear school colors and work on other skills,” says Adam Samuels, technology teaching and learning support specialist at Forest Hills. Samuels is also one of Forest Hill’s esports coaches.

Although competing in esports teaches important skills such as teamwork, Samuels is noticing additional benefits that will help students in their careers.

“We’ve had students learn how to build computers and others learn about IT through daily troubleshooting,” says Samuels. “Others are using programs like Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop to design graphics for livestream. We also have students developing commentary skills.”

While the odds of becoming rich and famous through esports may not be the reality for most students (especially considering the daily grind that is needed to churn out content), many student-athletes will go into fields where the design, marketing and information technology skills acquired will be valued.

For Samuels, he hopes his esports team can be a healthy space for his student-athletes. In the meantime, don’t be surprised to see esports pop up and thrive in your neck of the woods.