League of Legends Team at the University of Western Ontario (Western University) – Promotional Video

I recently visited Western University for my most recent video project: promoting the League of Legends team at the school.

I graduated from Western six years ago (BA’ 12, BA’ 13), and I have fond memories of my time living in London (Canada). It was nice to be back.

This video has an important backstory. Read more below – and scroll to the bottom if you want to see the final product.

Western University – League of Legends Team Promotional Video

LOS ANGELES – JUN. 8, 2018: The stage is set for Western’s first appearance at the College Championship against Maryland.

Context

My younger brother (Kyle ‘Shorthop’ Raposo) is an engineering student at Western University, as well as the captain of the League of Legends team at the school. League of Legends is a competitive online game and unquestionably one of the most popular eSports by watch time volume

Over the past four years, Kyle has put together a group of winners. He and his team have won back-to-back Conference Championships, along with a combined $150,000+ in external scholarships. For the second year in a row, the entire group is in Los Angeles to compete in the North American College Championship. Western is one of only eight teams to qualify from a pool of over 300+ schools.

These accomplishments are even more impressive when considering there has been no support from Western. Kyle has repeatedly contacted the Athletics department to establish a working relationship, with little success.

As a result, the team exists in isolation. They play separately in their own homes. They deal with Internet challenges alone. They compete and win against schools with scholarship funding and competition arenas attracting top players. It speaks to how skilled they actually are.

Western University - League of Legends Team

LONDON – APR. 19, 2019: Bill Zang, Peter Shi, Kyle Raposo, Ian Pessoa, Winston Herold, Alex Gorica (left to right).

The Debate

One can only assume Western has been unreceptive because League of Legends is not a ‘conventional’ athletic activity. This line of thinking should be completely outweighed by the level of success and positive representation brought to the university.

Moreover, there is extensive literature to suggest eSports are experiencing rapid growth on an international scale. CNN recently reported this as an ‘explosive billion-dollar industry’. This growth is occurring because athletics are about narrative, and not just the game itself. I take this stance not as a biased brother, but as someone who has played soccer competitively for two decades. I only understand the fundamentals when it comes to League of Legends.

This has no impact on my ability to appreciate what is going on. Kyle and his team earn external scholarships, practice multiple times a week, and scout the opposition to develop strategies. They deal with interpersonal conflict, egos, and share rivalries with other teams. They celebrate after a big play or a victory, and feel dejection when they lose. Anybody with even the slightest exposure to some form of competition can objectively relate to these experiences. They are the same as every other sport on the planet.

Audience viewership trends are evidence of this. In 2018, the North American College Championship final was concurrently watched by 35,000+ people online. Only one year prior, The Charleton reported that no television broadcast outside of football had eclipsed an average viewership of 60,000+ in the past three years. Not only do people care about eSports – but the audiences are comparable to traditional athletics at the Canadian university level.

Western University – League of Legends Team Promotional Video

LOS ANGELES – JUN. 8, 2018: Kyle ‘Shorthop’ Raposo speaks with teammates prior to the start of the second game against Maryland.

Establishing Support

Prospective students already know this team has a winning culture. Some of the newest players on the roster actually chose to attend Western for that very reason.

The only thing missing is formal acknowledgement from the university. It can begin with something as simple as a practice facility, and evolve into a scholarship program that will continue to attract talented student-athletes in the future.

This is an opportunity for Western to be one of the first movers and an innovator in the Canadian segment of a rapid-growth industry. There needs to be a concerted effort to adopt forward-thinking policies that acknowledge the accomplishments of players representing the institution.

Western: eSports are popular. You have one of the most talented college teams in Canada at your school. Support them.

Western University – League of Legends Team Promotional Video

LOS ANGELES – JUN. 8, 2018: The 2018 League of Legends College Championship trophy sits at centre stage.

Promotional Video

My goal with this project was to mimic the typical style of eSports promotional content – very snappy, with aggressive editing, time remapping, and stylistic colour grading.

Everything was captured at the Western University campus in London, using a variety of different popular locations throughout the school. I spent a lot of time reminiscing while shooting!

Have a look:

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