Collegiate Game Changers: UT Austin
This is the final week of a five-week article series published every Wednesday to highlight some of the best collegiate communities in North America.
Tossing out superlatives to describe what the Texas Esports Association (TeSPA) has done for collegiate communities and competitive events is easy, but almost seems to sell them short. As an organization, TeSPA seems determined to prove the clichés about size and Texas, but they’re adding a national scale. Their deep roots in other competitive esports provided a sturdy foundation when they transitioned to League of Legends this year.
Based in the University of Texas at Austin, they’ve already outgrown their own school. At Austin, the club boasts over 700 members. While that’s already an impressive number, add in the 12 other schools in Texas that proudly bear the TeSPA brand and you suddenly have a massive organization. Leading the charge to regionalize collegiate communities are Tyler and Adam Rosen, more commonly known as the Rosen twins.
The Rosens are the driving force behind one of the most impressive and groundbreaking events in League of Legends esports history: The Lone Star Clash 2. After envisioning a live collegiate “Final Four” for League of Legends alongside a professional team exhibition, they used their sheer force of will and impressive networking skills, to land four professional teams including Evil Geniuses—then known as CLG.eu, Curse Gaming, Vulcan Command and Reddit Nation.
Not content to snare marquee headliners, they also reached out to IvyLoL and invited the top four teams from the Premiere League to compete live in Austin. They flew out UC Irvine, UC San Diego, Georgia Tech, and invited UT Austin, who came to game with Kiwikid—now known as a professional top laner.
The event took months of preparation and an army of TeSPA volunteers across all of the various participating schools handled everything. When more than a thousand live attendees representing 40+ universities descended upon the small theatre in Austin, they were treated to a show that shattered every viewing record in collegiate League of Legends. The experience included a full video stream with shoutcasters, a host and even replays manned by a multi-person production crew. With peak concurrent views over 55,000 and total stream views hitting 4 million, the Lone Star Clash 2 met success on a massive scale.
At the end of the collegiate competition, UC Irvine took home their third consecutive championship while Evil Geniuses topped the field to take down the pro side. TeSPA had accomplished something historic and ran a collegiate national championship that transcended from an online-only affair to a raucous live competition that was easily the collegiate event highlight of the 2012-2013 season.