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A Community Overcoming Challenges: Tech League of Legends

From organizing a LAN to innovating a platform for people to BAND together, community is a compelling force driving teams to succeed.

Such force is especially evident in one Texas school’s League of Legends club. On top of fighting their way to uLoL South region’s Ro16, Texas Tech University is the first school to win $100 worth of free food and drinks in BAND and Collegiate Starleague’s BAND Points program!

Driven by mission to support gamers everywhere, BAND and CSL instigated this program to offer fun and useful rewards to support esports clubs’ community initiatives. Rewards include gift cards, gaming gear, custom-designed club shirts, and even sponsored LAN parties with a $500 prize pool. The program was deliberately designed for clubs of all sizes to participate and win through community collaboration rather than sheer quantity of involvement.

Regardless of member numbers, success is imminent when teams BAND together: in CSL, in uLoL, and even in spite of abysmal support from your own university.


Backseat to Traditional Sports

“If you know Texas, you know it’s football or bust.”

While the esports community has celebrated the recent growing number of new varsity esports programs, many gamers remain struggling to garner club support and recognition from their own schools. Traditional sports at Texas Tech is overflowing with millions in financial backing, but Tech League of Legends is lucky to receive a meager hundred per year due to skepticism in the administration.

“If you know Texas, you know it’s football or bust,” says Frank Delgado, TechLoL President. He explains:

“It’s very hard to get our administrators on board with funding esports programs due to them not believing it’s sustainable or nearly as popular as football.”

 

Regardless of financial constraints, Delgado and his team focused on creating a fun and engaging environment for gamers. TechLoL’s abundant programming includes game nights, LAN parties, viewing parties, and even a mentorship program aimed at helping members improve their gameplay. The club’s success is evident in the resulting tightknit community and myriad of fond memories.

“I love seeing everyone having fun, laughing, smiling, telling jokes, and acting like a family, “ says Micah Cotton, TechLoL’s newly-elected 2017-2018 president. “These different events made me happy because I get to see everyone come together over something they – whether they want to admit it or not – love to play, and that’s League of Legends.”

Despite all their achievements working within budget constraints, the challenges of little university support is undeniable.

Technical issues are prominent. “Every time we’ve held events, we’ve jimmy-rigged our streaming and shoutcasting operations from a laptop onto a projector, which isn’t the best quality,” explains Delgado. “Being able to afford renting computers and equipment for specific events would allow us to create a much better experience for our members.”

The abundance of other technical issues include unreliable internet options to hold on-campus tournaments; limited ethernet ports outside of the already busy Student Union Building Ballroom; and restrictive Wi-Fi that locks out areas of the school if that area is pulling too much bandwith.

“Funding has impacted us in every competition we try to hold on campus,” continues Delgado on the club’s constraints. The club is forced to make every LAN party and tournament BYOC (Bring Your Own Computer). This forces members to go through the troublesome ordeal of packing and transporting their PC in order to participate.

The inconvenience is a deterrent to many gamers. They need to take out the GPU, pack the PC tower, pack the monitor, pack all gaming peripherals, lug everything carefully across campus without causing damage to their pricey equipment, and reassemble everything before finally being able to play. Lower attendance and smaller LANs are the result.

Speaking to the financial frustration, Cotton adds, “It can be extremely strenuous to play within small monetary boundaries.” In spite of all TechLoL’s resourcefulness and diligence, he states:

“It’s annoying seeing dedicated people not being able to do what they want because of money restrictions.”

 

Club Communication for Success

When the opportunity arose for free rewards through the BAND Points program, TechLoL was quick to rally together to aid their club.

“Our club doesn’t get a lot of financial help,” Delgado iterates. “Thus, whenever there’s an opportunity to receive funding or extra help, we tend to jump on it ASAP.”

Club communication in-person and on BAND were key to earning club rewards through the BAND Points program.

“I’d talk to a lot of our members individually how they’d be aiding the club,” explains TJ Bell, TechLoL’s Communications Director. “At all of our meetings, I’d push BAND and communicate all the benefits for our members. To show everyone our progress, I’d screenshot the leaderboard off CSL’s BAND sponsor page and put it into our meeting slides. The biggest factor was that our officers would lead by example in using BAND and showing how fun and easy it can be.”

Aside from BAND’s tangible rewards, the benefits of using BAND’s platform soon surfaced upon daily usage. In tackling the challenges surrounding club reminders and event promotion, Bell found an effective solution in BAND:

”I’ve ran into multiple issues with Facebook when communicating events to our members,” he says. “BAND’s calendar system automatically updated all of our members the second I created an event. There’s also an ability to automatically send out a reminder.”

“Another feature that made BAND stand out to me was how events are automatically saved to the top of the feed. No matter what device, members could quickly and easily view events whether they’re on computer or mobile.” With the convenience of all these features, Bell concludes:

”BAND is easy to use and makes my job a whole lot easier.”

 

Community at the Forefront

With the conclusion of recent officer elections, the club is looking forward to another exciting year in spite of their financial challenges. Their biggest motivation to persist and succeed is knowing that the community they have is more than worth it.

Cotton recalls one his favorite club memories: “We were watching Cloud 9 vs. CLG at Buffalo Wild Wings, and we’re just laughing at a random Azir pick that Jensen had and how he was getting rocked. Moments like those are just irreplaceable.”

The incoming 2017-2018 president continues to recount fondly: “During a game night, we ran an all-jungler team and level one invaded their jungle and smited their buff away. It was awesome fun. Even though we lost, we had fun, and that’s what’s important.”

Whether the challenges lie on Summoner’s Rift or school administrations, Texas Tech University epitomizes how the best strategy for success is to BAND together.

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