The last year of my life was spent building a collegiate esports program from the ground up. I learned a ton of lessons throughout the process, but one of the takeaways I had at the end was a stronger understanding of the power of a collegiate system. 

Essentially, my experience amounted to this: if college students interested in esports are given the proper resources, they’re unstoppable.  There isn’t a group of people more motivated to experiment and learn, which leads into what we’re working toward at Giant Slayer Valorant with our Collegiate Valorant Fight Night efforts.

What was the task?

We set out early on with the goal of creating a system that would highlight the personalities of collegiate esports programs and the players within them. Our Phase 1 for execution on this was through “Collegiate Fight Night Arena,” an addition to our professional “Fight Night Arena.”

With the competition of other professional tournaments, we made the decision to host these collegiate events on Monday nights. We wanted to make sure teams were given the opportunity to be in the spotlight, which was almost guaranteed to be impossible given how many esports events take place on weekends. 

For anyone interested in sponsoring our Fight Night Arenas, you should reach out to Wisdom Senior Account Manager, Nicole DuCane Spencer, at [email protected]

Building the structure

My first step was to bring in Roland Jaworski, our Giant Slayer Valorant Community Intern. Roland was a previous player of mine and helped me build the program I mentioned earlier.

Roland was the recruitment muscle on this project. His sole task was to field four competitive rosters each week for a brand new game where no data on any team’s performance exists…easy! We treated each program as if it were a media outlet, reaching out with an initial “press release” keying program members into what we were building and asking if they’d be interested in participating. 

Here’s what the process looked like:

We started by looking at programs with successful CS:GO and Rainbow 6 Siege teams, due to their shared status as tactical shooters.

We also compared social media follower counts. Due to our launch within weeks of the game being shipped out, we knew schools may not have teams in place yet. However, our logic was schools with larger followings could at least put out a recruitment message if they didn’t already have the established player base to pull from.

My network. Roland and I were involved in the Collegiate Call of Duty League and met individuals who later helped us connect the dots needed to field enough teams to fill an entire month of matches. These connections also helped us establish a baseline understanding for many programs we were in contact with.

If you’re a school interested in playing in future Collegiate Fight Night Arenas, please reach out to [email protected]!

What was the result?

We’ve now run Collegiate Fight Night for four weeks and seen teams from University of California – Irvine, University of Texas Dallas, University of Utah and Ryerson University take home first place finishes throughout June. Collegiate Fight Nights had double our average viewership, in comparison to professional Fight Nights. The user chat experience was qualitatively better in comparison to the same variable as well. The content has been stellar. The streams are fun, the competition is high fast-paced and Fdot and Jamerson (our casters) are incredible. This translates well to our social media accounts, where we repost clips and match VODs to three separate platforms.

We developed one of the only collegiate Valorant networks in all of North America. From my experience in the Collegiate Call of Duty League, the collegiate esports scene is largely untouched. However, it’s a very passionate, engaged community that deserves more attention.

Future plan

We have exciting things planned for a system designed to give collegiate Valorant players opportunities to showcase their talent on an even larger scale than our Collegiate Fight Night Arenas! Of course, I can’t share too many details but check out the awesome work our Legends of Runeterra brand is doing here

The Valorant project we’re building will be even bigger!

If you’d like to chat about Wisdom’s capabilities or have any questions, feel free to reach out to me at [email protected] or @FarwaterGG on Twitter!