Your Esports Twitch Stream Team!

The Valpo Esports Twitch Stream Team helps students connect their classroom academics to real-world experiences. Twitch is a live-streaming platform for gaming, artwork, music, and talk shows and has gained popularity in the gaming world because gamers can stream their games, and non-gamers can watch others play. Bryce Jones ’20 is a stream coordinator for Valpo Esports and a player on the League of Legends team. 

“Our jobs are very different, but we all want to create and operate a running stream that upholds the Valparaiso University guidelines,” Bryce says. “Day-to-day tasks for me can be anything from shaping the schedule of the team or helping design and implement upgrades to overlays. I spend my time making sure everyone is happy, from the members of the Esports team to the University.” 

The Valpo Esports Twitch Stream team, and the corresponding roles, began with the help of Tristan Leonhard, Director of Recreational Sports, who runs the program. In looking for a way for people at Valpo to get involved and invested in Esports, the Twitch Stream Team was born.

“The Twitch Stream Team has taken on the roles of production, graphic design, commenting, and casting, and have excelled in every single aspect,” Director Leonhard says. “Our team has grown from a couple of students to a large mix of students from across all areas of campus. Every stream of our games is an opportunity for our program to reach an audience of students, parents, and prospective students, and that isn’t lost on us. They treat every game like a large scale event, and the results have been incredibly positive.”

The Twitch Stream Team is offering internships for students interested in pursuing careers after college in similar fields.

“As the streaming portion of our Esports program grows, there are many different areas of collaboration in which it can also benefit the academic community,” Leonhard says. “Graphic design, sports media, broadcasting, computer science, digital production, public relations, and communication are all vital pieces that can positively impact our student and their degrees, while also enriching the overall Esports experience”.

Honing in on these academic areas with Esports team can be influential for knowledge and real-world experience, but it can also strengthen students’ leadership skills.

“The Stream Team can help people pursue a career in broadcasting,” Bryce says. “It could be used as a starter platform because you could have a ton of people watching you at one time. Also, you have to be prepared for the material and know what to say. It can be quite a task but it can be very helpful when it comes to honing your people and vocal skills. The Stream Team gives me an edge for my career because not many people learn how to hold a position of leadership while here at Valpo and it will help me advance in my career and hopefully make me a better candidate for jobs that I want.”

Twitch’s popularity in Esports stems from its ability to share new tips, gaming titles, and interact with other gamers, resulting in connecting popular gamers to their fans. At Valpo, the Twitch Stream Team and the Esports team are looking to improve their interactivity.

“One step that has been taken is giving Streamers access to the Esports room so that they can play and learn the games the Esports team members play,” Bryce says. “This way they can be more prepared to cast. There has also been interest from the Esports team when it comes to the stream. They put the stream on and watch it and give me feedback that I use to make the stream better as a whole. I think it is important that the players and the people representing them are on the same page when it comes to the stream.”

Because of the direct connection streamers must have with gaming, they have their love for the gaming world. Bryce discovered Esports when he was 14 with Halo and CS: GO and found immediate amazement with top-level gaming. 

“The time and dedication that these people put into the thing that they love always reminded me of other sports,” Bryce says. “There has always been a huge debate on whether Esports is on the same level as other sports like football or basketball and in my honest opinion, Esports is. Both sports put in so much time and dedication to be the best they can be. It has always amazed me, and I wanted to be a part of it in some form.”

Gaming and streaming aside, the Esports team has allowed Bryce and many other students at Valpo to form meaningful relationships.

“There are a lot of people who want to make this program succeed, and getting to meet them and help them get involved has been an amazing honor,” Bryce says. “I made so many friends and have been inspired by so many people. I’m always amazed by the things that Valpo students can do from St. Baldrick’s to Dance Marathon. I hope to be able to lead the Stream and Esports team to be able to do something along those lines someday. The goal of the team is to leave something behind for others that we can look back on and be proud of.”