A sales and marketing professional in the tech industry, Saurabh Aggarwal of Frisco, is a new franchisee of the XP League — a youth esports concept that teaches sportsmanship and social skills in organized environments.
“It’s competitive gaming,” Aggarwal told The Dallas Express. “It’s just like your soccer leagues or your football leagues, and the goal is to get them into professional sports. You compete with other locations.
“High schools have started esports programs. It’s about getting them into team games and learning skills so when they go out, they’re not just gamers but can apply those skills into other areas as well.”
XP League is based in North Carolina but has an office in North Dallas. Players ages 7 to 17 at different skill levels represent 26 teams. Led by certified coaches, they compete against each other during nine-week seasons.
“Generally, the industry has been great,” Aggarwal said. “I started thinking about esports around March and we started in May. We have [registered] about 70 to 80 kids in two months. Our team is going to compete with other XP League locations.”
XP League teams practice and compete weekly before meeting in annual regionals and finals tournaments.
“We play different games like Fortnite, and most of these kids know these games,” Aggarwal explained to The Dallas Express. “I have a son who is 13, and he’s a Fortnite player. One thing I want to highlight is we want kids to be in recreation as well as be involved on the academic side. Most parents aren’t aware esports can still be that. They can still learn other skills.”
Aggarwal, 42, has lived in North Texas for eight years. He wants parents to know that the perception of the gaming industry has changed and continues to do so.
“When you look at the stats, 80% of kids are playing games,” he said. “I’m a father. I know a lot of parents feel like there’s a stigma around playing these games. But kids now are looking at improving their skills in gaming. That’s where esports is growing.”
In 2021, the U.S. had the highest number of active esports competitors globally, according to data from Statista. The industry generated about $243 million over the same period. The following year, some of the most popular games were League of Legends, Halo, Call of Duty, Fortnite Battle Royale, Mortal Kombat, and Apex Legends.
“I used to play games as a kid,” Aggarwal said. “I just realized that in this particular community, not a lot has been done” in the way of esports. “So, I brought my passion for doing something with kids together with what I do in technology, and that’s how I ended up with XP League.
“One of my goals is to educate the older generation like me. I think that will solve a lot of problems because a lot of parents don’t know what their kids are doing online.”
He also stressed that esports competitors who may not be able to play traditional sports because of disabilities are encouraged to join an XP League.
“The fun part about this is that it brings communication and leadership skills together. Kids with special needs are into gaming, too, and nobody thinks about them. We are very inclusive, and I want to highlight that aspect as well.”