Written by: Matt Schmittdiel
Taking initiative can create new opportunities you might not have ever expected. This is exactly what two Mizzou students did when they saw a room full of broadcast equipment, a chance to do something special, and had a passion for League of Legends.
Mizzou Junior Eric Lopez has been casting League of Legends games for a hobby on and off for the past two years. After not moving forward in the Mizzou Esports walk-on tryouts, he was not going to let that stop him from participating in the game he loves. Lopez reached out to League of Legends Head Coach Shawn Whitmore to turn his hobby into something more.
“I asked Shawn, do you want someone to cast this last game for you? He said yes and I did a solo cast and it was very funny,” Lopez said. “Then afterwards, he asked if I wanted to do this on a regular basis and I said yes, of course, so now I do it weekly during the team’s regular season matches.”
However, Lopez soon realized he needed a co-caster and took the initiative to reach out to Mizzou Junior Alex Wilson to help him break down the games. Wilson knew about the Mizzou Esports team from his time in the League of Legends Club on campus and quickly wanted to get involved with esports broadcasting.
“I didn’t come to the Journalism School for that, but the opportunity was right in front of me,” Wilson said. “I thought that was probably one of the coolest things within the sphere of gaming instead of being an actual esports player; so I wanted to talk about the game just as much as I wanted to play it.”
Lopez and Wilson casted their first League of Legends stream together by just observing the gameplay on a TV with a single mic.
“Yeah, it really hit us right after the first cast. They were planning to have us do the next one remotely, but it was Eric who was like ‘No, no, no, give us a space. Let’s feel real,’” Wilson said. “We’ve got a space. I know we have a booth. Let’s see what we can do.”
Along with Mizzou Senior Josh Raub, Whitemore, Lopez and Wilson got together and put together an official broadcast studio space inside the MSI Training Facility.
The final product of their effort is a full broadcast studio desk supported by three light panels, sound proof installation, camera and studio mic all synced up to an operating computer system adjacent to the broadcast desk.
“The second stream we did was leaps and bounds better than the first and then the next one we are going to have even more,” Wilson said. “We’re going towards the digital side of it. We’ve got the space, and now we are developing digital assets.”
“We really just wanted to build this League of Legends broadcasting media outlet that had a professional style booth, and everything you see is inspired from that idea,” Lopez said.
Lopez and Wilson’s first stream had about 70 concurrent viewers. They say their goal is to reach 150 concurrent viewers by being creative and making each stream better than the last.
“The goal is to keep growing,” Lopez said. “We are putting in hours of work with Josh and putting in the work to enhance our visuals and digital features.”
Motivation is as motivation goes, you either have it or you don’t,” Wilson said. “So we pulled up our sleeves and worked with each other to build this space, and build it the right way.”