In April 2019, UVU’s esports club had the opportunity to compete in Collegiate Rocket League (CRL) for $50,000 in cash prizes.
Rocket League is described as “supersonic acrobatic rocket-powered battle-cars” according to the website. Two teams of four try to score goals in a domed arena.
“This was the biggest tournament we have played in [for Rocket League],” said Josh “Iceberg” Acosta, an aviation major. “It really just came down to nerves, but we just played like we normally do.” The club placed 1st in the open western qualifiers and are currently 16th in the nation.
Though performing well, so far the form of support received from UVU is a partnership with Corsair, an electronics company that has supplied the club with several pieces of equipment.
“UVU is like your mom. She will buy you all of the [equipment] but in the end she just roots you on.” said Tyler “TY#LR” Hampton, an information technology major and founder of the club. “We play Utah State and we destroy them, and they get way more support from their school.”
Trevor “Coco” Duke, one of the top Rocket League players in Utah, said that when competing in the CRL, the esports team had 16,000-20,000 viewers. UVU soccer brought in a total of 15,125 in 2018, and basketball 45,822. A single esports game brought in more viewers than some UVU sports did in an entire season.
With all the viewership esports can bring in, just like football and soccer, the members of the club feel that the team has largely gone unnoticed. While they are grateful for the gaming PCs and other equipment they’ve been given, financial support is something they would like to see in the future. According to the club members, the money earned by the club has been from winning competitions.
“[I] hope to see more support and recognition from the school as well as increasing the pool of players who try out and care about competing in Esports.”Trevor Duke
Lead photo provided by Tespa.