R20 Premiere at SA Museum of Science and Technology introduces students to world of scholastic esports

The local nonprofit offers lessons, tours and programs and encourages students to pursue STEM

Game play at SAMSAT (Hope Trinidad - Marketing Lead, Texas A&M San Antonio Esports, Copyright 2023 by KSAT - All rights reserved.)

SAN ANTONIO – Hello, my name is Josh Martinez, and I am the director of esports for the San Antonio Museum of Science and Technology. As the founder of the R20 Premiere esports league, I wanted to welcome you to the world of scholastic esports. This space is relatively new and always changing, so let me help you get up to speed with the current state of esports in San Antonio.

Scholastic esports and why it matters

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We’ve all grown up in a generation where parents believe video games are a waste of time. We believe that is false, with some conditions.

With the correct structure, accountability, discipline and focus, esports share the same virtues as traditional sports.

A recent study completed by Moreno Valley USD of more than 1,300 students in scholastic esports showed that 60 percent of students in esports programs are not involved in other activities or clubs on campus.

Scholastic esports create a community and a sense of belonging for these students. An increasing number of studies are showing major academic improvements by esports students compared to their peers.

What is SAMSAT?

R20 Premiere is run by SAMSAT, the San Antonio Museum of Science and Technology. We are a local nonprofit whose mission is to inspire students from all backgrounds to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math. We offer lessons, tours and programs that focus on giving students hands-on learning within the various STEM career paths.

SAMSAT is a member of NASEF, the Network of Academic and Scholastic Esports Federations, which follows the same model of utilizing gaming to encourage students to explore different career pathways. As a regional affiliate, SAMSAT helps spread awareness about the benefits of scholastic esports programs following the NASEF model of club creation.

By connecting the core skills of each student to a work field that best fits them, we can enable these students to translate their academic knowledge into the real world.

NASEF organization (Copyright 2023 by KSAT - All rights reserved.)

A brief history of R20

After being approached by Southwest and South San Antonio ISDs to create an esports league that was accessible to all students, R20 Premiere was founded by SAMSAT in 2021. That spring, we held our first competition season with a group of 87 students from various San Antonio school districts. Students competed in Rocket League and Super Smash Bros’ Ultimate, with the winners receiving scholarship offers from St. Mary’s University.

The following year in the 2022-2023 competitive season, we moved into our new home at AREA 21 in the Boeing Center at Tech Port. This new space enabled us to push the program even further by changing our format from online to a monthly in-person event. With larger and more frequent events, we were able to give more opportunities to students to learn how technology is used within the esports industry. Utilizing a team of interns from Texas A&M University-San Antonio, we have been able to give real-world experience in the careers of event management, broadcasting, social media management and marketing.

Now in 2023-2024, we are averaging 300 registered competitors per event, and our network of interns is rapidly expanding to include students from Alamo Colleges, as well as Texas A&M-San Antonio.

R20 Premiere is a free event available to all San Antonio high school students. The events are held every second Saturday of the month from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. at the Boeing Center at Tech Port, 3331 General Hudnell Drive. For more information on how to participate please visit www.samsat.org/esports.

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