When Bethany Lutheran College announced they were starting an esports program last month, you may have noticed two major factors that already set their program apart from others.
Meet Erik Lonnquist, a.k.a. Doa, a 2006 Bethany graduate and freelance esports commentator with nearly 10 years of experience casting games around the world. Lonnquist currently is contracted by Blizzard Entertainment to cast Overwatch League matches.
Esports are expanding on colleges at a rapid pace. Having an alum who is willing to share insight and help develop a new program is vital to getting off on the right foot.
“I’m happy to be involved,” said Lonnquist. “I really enjoyed my time at Bethany, and I think the school is in a great spot to produce a lot of talented esports people as players, commentators, production people, etc.”
Playing video games competitively are one part of Bethany’s plan. With Doa’s help, the college is hoping to combine the efforts of its established BLC Studios’ broadcasting program to stream and cast matches, giving them an edge to help develop future professionals playing and broadcasting. BLC Studios has been producing Division One college hockey for nearly 20 years and was recently named a finalist for the SVG College Media Awards for Live Game Production.
Having a successful alum in the industry willing to give back has been great during the planning phase. “The name Doa is iconic in esports,” said Prof. Lucas Fricke, Director of Esports at Bethany. “Having Erik being heavily involved in the development of our program has been awesome. Erik is helping us set the standards in order to be successful.”
There are three pillars Lonnquist is hoping the college considers as it grows the new program.
“Support for players in terms of treating them as any other collegiate athlete as far as grade standards go. I’d also recommend a fitness program to be implemented for the players along with gaming practice time. Lots of professional teams do this with the philosophy of “healthy body, healthy mind”.
Secondly, support for esports production in terms of creating and running tournaments (both online on the national level and offline on-site at the local level) in order to train students in running every aspect of a sports broadcast, from cameras to graphics, to directing, etc.
Third, support for students that have interest in being commentators. I’m happy to help with this one by video-calling in for feedback and making myself available to field questions from aspiring commentators.”
Things change quickly in the esports world. But with Lonnquist’s professional expertise and an established broadcasting program on campus, Bethany is laying a solid foundation for their new program to succeed. Lonnquist noted, “Most schools are just making a team and calling it a day, but if Bethany takes everything that’s being applied to the hockey shows and starts running esports broadcasts I think it’ll be something really cool and unique right now.”