Delane Parnell And PlayVS Expand Riot Games Partnership To Become Exclusive Provider Of High School League Of Legends

Written by Dana Sanchez
Esports pioneer Delane Parnell has announced an expanded partnership with Riot Games. High school students who are in Parnell’s PlayVS leagues will have access to every League of Legends champion in the game. Photo: Anita Martin/Moguldom

PlayVS, a venture-backed startup that is building the online and offline infrastructure for high school esports, partnered in 2018 with game publisher Riot Games to bring League of Legends to U.S. high schools.

On Tuesday, the Los Angeles-based tech company (pronounced “Play Versus”) and its founder and CEO, Delane Parnell, announced a new deal that expands on the earlier partnership.

Students who are in PlayVS leagues will have access to every League of Legends champion in the game, PlayVS said in a statement.

“While this may not seem like a big deal, it allows the students to be able to play what is needed for their team and saves them quite a bit of time and money,” the company said.

During the Fall 2019 season, 80 percent of PlayVS participating schools had at least one League of Legends team.

PlayVS announced in April 2018 that it had signed an exclusive contract with the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) to provide support in building the video gaming infrastructure for high school esports, allowing students to play esports on behalf of their school all the way to the state championship level.

In June 2018, PlayVS completed a $15 million funding round to bring esports infrastructure to high schools across the country.

It was the largest Series-A funding round ever by a Black founder in consumer internet history and the top five across all industries, Parnell tweeted.

In September 2018, PlayVS partnered with Riot Games to bring League of Legends to U.S. high schools.

“League of Legends is one of the most played PC games in the world and is a key driver behind the explosive growth of esports, making it an obvious choice for PlayVS’ first official game partner,” PlayVS said in a statement at the time.

More and bigger funding followed. In November 2018, PlayVS announced that it had closed on a $30.5 million Series-B funding round with new investors including Sean “Diddy” Combs, Adidas and Samsung.

Then in September 2019, another $50 million in funding was announced for a total of $96 million.

League of Legends is a multiplayer online battle arena video game developed and published by Riot Games for Microsoft Windows and macOS.

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“Riot is one of the best game publishers in the world. They have always championed League of Legends as a sport at the professional and collegiate levels,” Parnell said in an earlier press release. “We are so excited to partner with them to make their game a high school sport.”

Since the beginning of the PlayVS-Riot relationship, PlayVS said it has scaled from zero to 18 partnered states in 15 months — due largely to the massive popularity of Riot’s League of Legends.

PlayVS’ continued partnership with Riot Games will allow the software company to improve on its integration with League of Legends, enabling an even better player experience for participating students, PlayVS said. 

Other than League of Legends, PlayVS also operates in Rocket League, Fortnite and SMITE, The Gamehaus reported. 

Schools have until Feb. 14, 2020 to register for the Spring 2020 Season. Create a PlayVS account here.