Competitive video gaming, called esports, is a new program being offered by the YMCA of Metro Atlanta in partnership with Skillshot Media and Ghost Gaming.

The YMCA of Metro Atlanta is bringing competitive video gaming — known as esports — to its programming for children and teens.

The YMCA is teaming up with Skillshot Media and Atlanta-based professional esports team Ghost Gaming to put on youth and teen tournaments in Rocket League beginning this month and in May. The program is available to members and nonmembers ages 8 through 18.

Rocket League was chosen to begin the program “because the content is appropriate for all ages, it’s free, accessible across multiple hardware platforms and includes elements of teamwork and cooperation in gameplay,” according to YMCA officials.

“We’re excited to augment our traditional youth offerings with esports,” said Jill Moore, group vice president of the YMCA of Metro Atlanta, in a news release.

“We identified Skillshot Media and Ghost Gaming as perfect partners based on their esports experience and their vision of esports for skill development, fun, friendly competition and physical fitness. Play begins this spring with a virtual program, and we plan to expand to in-person play by fall.”  

Skillshot will assist with parent education sessions about the benefits of competitive gaming. Skillshot is a part of the Atlanta Esports Alliance, a division of the Atlanta Sports Council (ASC), the group responsible for securing bids for large-scale sporting events like the Olympics, Super Bowl and FIFA World Cup. 

Ghost Gaming has a top professional Rocket League team which includes a general manager and coach, according to the release.

“The Y is such a trusted brand in child development,” said Todd Harris, CEO of Skillshot Media, in the release. “We’re thrilled they are embracing esports and are humbled to partner with them to deliver competitive gaming in a way that nurtures the potential of children and teens while delivering confidence and connection.”

Parents interested in learning more about esports and the YMCA of Metro Atlanta spring tournaments, can attend parent information meetings on April 19 at 7 p.m. and May 10 at 7 p.m. via Zoom sessions. To register for spring tournaments, click here.

Dyana Bagby

Dyana Bagby is a staff writer for Reporter Newspapers and Atlanta Intown.