Wisdom Gaming-owned scholastic esports company Minnesota Varsity League (MNVL) has announced a varsity esports programme for middle schools in the US state of Minnesota.
The programme, called MNVL JR., will offer middle school students in grades five through eight the opportunity to compete in Mario Kart, Super Smash Bros., Chess and Minecraft in two separate seasons per year.
The MNVL Jr. programme is designed similarly to the original Minnesota Varsity League, which also has two seasons per academic year and organises varsity tournaments in several games, including Rocket League, Fortnite, VALORANT and others. The MNVL says it has more than 80 participant schools and more than 2,000 members as of its Fall 2023 season.
Wisdom Gaming is also the operator of T-Wolves, the official esports arm of the NBA team Minnesota Timberwolves. The organisation is also active in the collegiate gaming scene in the United States and launched a Rocket League tournament in 2022 called the Wisdom Collegiate Contender Series.
The new MNVL Jr. league will see the company present in three separate levels of education in Minnesota. The company was also the owner of esports organisation Torrent which ceased operations earlier this year.
The MNVL Jr. focuses on middle schoolers, allowing for more children to enter esports on a school level. The league offers competitions and educational initiatives that, as the league notes, offer students tools beyond the confines of traditional education. The MNVL recently launched the MNVL Fund which offers internship opportunities in STEM, production and marketing.
Jacqueline Lamm, STEM/Esports TOSA for MSP District, commented: “Minnesota Varsity League’s introduction of a middle school league marks a significant advancement in establishing Minnesota as a leading hub for scholastic esports.
“Providing middle school students with equal opportunities to engage and learn in games they are growing to appreciate is truly remarkable. I am eagerly anticipating the innovation and progress of MNVL, both in its present state and in the future.”
UPDATE 07/12/2023: This article previously incorrectly listed the number of schools and members in the MNVL, and has been updated to reflect accurate figures.