Today is the day the Forest City Esports team will take to the internet for their first-ever match. Forest City will compete in the Fall season of Super Smash Bros, and their first match today will be against Woodbine High School – located in southwest Iowa, just northeast of Council Bluffs.
2007 Forest City High School graduate Ryan Friederich is the team’s coach. Friederich is in his first year back in Forest City after spending time in Spirit Lake, where he also started an esports team. After the success at his last school, Friederich explains that he started pitching the idea to Forest City right away, and the administration was on board.
Eventually, Friederich and Forest City are hoping to compete in multiple game titles, but right now, this fall, they have the equipment to compete in ‘smash.’
The team was formed when school started late last month. Thanks to a local community member, the team was given the equipment they need to start practicing. Friederich wasn’t sure if they’d be able to field a team right away, but the students at Forest City responded to his call for team members.
Ryan says the club currently has 15-20 members, and ten of them will compete today in week 1. Friederich mentioned that both students currently in a sport and not currently in a sport had shown interest. He says teams in the Iowa High School Esports Association are good at working around conflicts and even rescheduling matches if they need to.
Forest City’s games will be streamed live on their Twitch channel (https://www.twitch.tv/forestcityesports). Twitch. Tv is one of the largest video streaming services in the world, owned by Amazon. It is the official broadcast service of the League of Legends (LOL) World Championship – the world’s largest esports. Over 3.8 million viewers watched ‘worlds’ the 2020 LOL World Championship – the same amount as the Indianapolis 500 in 2020 on NBC.
Twitch and companies such as Youtube and Facebook give esport athlete/content creators a chance to make a career out of their sport/content. As of February 2020, Twitch had 3 million broadcasters monthly and 15 million daily active users, with 1.4 million average concurrent users. On Twitch, viewers can subscribe and donate to creators, but payment isn’t required to watch. Tyler Blevins, known online as Ninja, has the top Twitch account for followers and subscribers. Ninja has 16.9 million followers, over 100,000 subscribers and bolsters an additional 24.1 million subscribers on Youtube – all as of this article. He has also signed endorsement deals with Redbull, Uber Eats, and Budweiser, to name a few. Tyler’s estimated yearly income for 2020 was just under 17 million.
Friedrich said along with competing and playing games, and he’s trying to set the kids up for the future in streaming and content creation.
These large and small video game platform companies and developers also require employees. A successful high school and or college esports career could advance Forest City students into those positions as a successful high school and college sports career would a former athlete looking for a career in sports.
Friedrich says he’s hoping Forest City can later compete in other Iowa High School Esports Association games such as Overwatch and Rocket League. They will play a winter and spring season following their opening fall schedule. They’re scheduled to play six matches with schools such as Okoboji, Nevada, Belmond-Klemme, Griswold, and Lake Mills. Forest City is the eighth school in the Top of Iowa Conference to introduce esports. Mitchell County rivals, Osage and Saint Ansgar were the Pioneers.
The Indians and the Tigers will go head-to-head this afternoon at 3:45 PM. Results and highlights of the matches will be posted to KIOW.com when those are available.
Zarren Egesdal is the sports director for Coloff Media radio stations KIOW and KHAM. He can be reached daily at firstname.lastname@example.org or 641-585-1073. Do you have a story idea? Feel free to contact him. Zarren is an award-winning journalist providing coverage to all area schools. You will hear Zarren calling games as the ‘voice of the Forest City Indians’ on KIOW (107.3), the Indians’ flagship station throughout the year.