How much does High School Esports cost?

Frilling whistles and eager chatter from the crowd fill the crisp October air while the Friday Night Lights illuminate proud athletes on the field. It’s their time to shine, and the community’s opportunity to take pride in its latest generation of student-athletes. In high schools across the United States, this vision has long been the cornerstone of sports and extracurricular activities. 

Now take a moment to envision an arena designed to give center stage to a new demographic of student competitors: Esports. 

A jumbotron flashes the non-stop gameplay of Grand Forks Red River and Mandan, two rival teams pitted against each other again, this time in a bout for the North Dakota state title in Rocket League. Three students from each school are seated in front of a crowd of family, peers, and community members who are enamored by the young players’ speed and precision. Fans from both sides take turns holding their breath as the heavy weights trade blows. Time finally runs out, and the underdogs from Mandan jump out of their seats to celebrate with their teammates and excited supporters.  Not only is esports reshaping the competitive landscape, but it’s also revolutionizing the cost structure of extracurricular activities. In this article, We’ll dive into the costs associated with traditional high school sports and compare them to the significantly lower expenses of esports. 

The Price Tag of Traditional High School Sports 

Traditional high school sports programs come with a range of costs that can add up quickly. Here are some common expenses associated with these programs: 

 Managing a school’s sports programs involves various expenses that contribute significantly to the budget. There’s the cost of sports equipment, ranging from football helmets to soccer cleats, which can be quite steep. And of course, every athlete requires a uniform, encompassing items such as jerseys, shorts, and sometimes pads. Travel expenses add another layer. 

Coaching salaries are a vital consideration, with dedicated coaches compensated for their time and expertise. The market average of a high school varsity coach will cost a school around $24 per hour (ZipRecruiter). Simultaneously, maintaining sports facilities such as fields, gyms, and courts is a continual expense, covering repairs, upgrades, and regular maintenance. For instance, the upkeep of a turf football field alone could cost a school between $60,000 to $100,000 annually ( 

Ensuring the safety of student-athletes involves medical check-ups, injury treatments, and comprehensive insurance coverage. We can’t forget that administrative expenses are necessary for managing sports programs effectively. This includes tasks like scheduling, event coordination, and paperwork, all of which require allocated funds. All these factors, from equipment to administrative overheads, are pivotal aspects of a school’s sports budget. 

Esports: A More Affordable Alternative 

In stark contrast to traditional high school sports, esports presents a more budget-friendly option. Here’s why: 
Esports programs in schools boast minimal expenses in several key areas. Unlike traditional sports, esports require relatively modest equipment costs, primarily high-powered PCs or consoles, which many schools and students already own. A basic setup that handles most competitive games can be acquired for around $1,000, while more advanced computers are available for $2,500. 

Especially advantageous is the absence of travel expenses. Esports competitions predominantly take place online, enabling players to compete from their homes or school computer labs, eliminating the need for costly travel arrangements. This convenience extends to reduced coaching costs, as coaches can be hired as needed from Fenworks instead of staffed full-time. 

Unlike traditional sports teams, esports teams don’t necessitate specialized facilities. A well-equipped computer lab or a designated gaming space is generally sufficient, eliminating the need for expensive maintenance, as well as lower administrative overheads. Scheduling and coordination are streamlined through online platforms, which further minimizes administrative expenses. 

Uniform costs are notably lower for esports teams. Unlike traditional sports, which often require helmets, padding, and specialized shoes, esports typically only require team jerseys for events. This cost-effectiveness, combined with the minimal equipment, travel, coaching, and administrative expenses, makes esports an attractive investment for administrators aiming to increase engagement of an untapped demographic at their school.  

A New Era of High School Activities 

Esports is ushering in a new era of high school activities, offering students an affordable and inclusive way to participate in competitive gaming. As schools seek to balance their budgets while providing diverse opportunities for students, the cost-effectiveness of esports needs consideration. 

While traditional high school sports undoubtedly have their merits, the financial burden they place on schools and families cannot be ignored. Esports emerges as a cost-effective alternative that levels the playing field and opens doors for all students to engage in competitive activities without breaking the bank. 

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