BOISE — The Boise State Esports team were finalists in six out of the eight awards at the National Associate of Collegiate Esports Convention this past weekend.
Four of their players were named to the All-Star team including Robert Faricy (League of Legends), Dean Wood (League of Legends), Madisyn Benge (Overwatch) and Jared Frank (Rocket League).
“It means so much to me especially after not making it into the playoffs, top 64, last season, I put it a lot of outside work just improving,” said BSU Esports player, Robert Faricy.
With the cancellation of almost all live sports during the pandemic, the Esports team has filled the void for sports fans.
“I know there’s like a stigma with esports, that they’re not a real sport, so when this whole pandemic started, not to make light of the bad things happening, but it’s always kind of fun to talk with my buddies who are following esports like haha there’s actually one sport being played and that’s esports," said BSU Esports Broadcaster, Michael Fisher.
The players game at home, but other than that they've had no problem continuing to play.
“It definitely gives us the spotlight and for a lot of us it’s kind of given us this vindication like really go all in and I hope that carries into our season,” said Faricy.
Their ability to still play mixed with the growing community support Esport's popularity is skyrocketing.
“It really is this community that is starting to buy in and say 'hey these guys are really really good' and starting to give them recognition and the players realize," said Fisher.
Although the players compete at home, the broadcast team set up a new safe production room. They added screens, made it so the team could social distance and changed a few things around.
They were named Broadcast Team of the Year at the convention with over 1,000 hours broadcasted to nearly 1.3 million households.
Even through the pandemic they upped their production and added new graphics.
“We’ve stepped it up to a whole new level because the pandemic has sort of given us more resources to say 'hey how do we focus on making it look really really really good' because we know it’s one of the few things people are seeing,” said Fisher.
If you ask anyone that's a part of the Esports program what makes it so successful, family is always the first thing.
“Everyone gets along, the casters, the players, production, we can all just kind of joke around," said Fisher. "It’s just like having a big family you know when you come into the arena you enjoy being there.”