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Lone Star Clash: Reflections and Recap

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The Lone Star Clash shattered our expectations with 750 live spectators and 47,000 peak concurrent stream viewers. From the amazing production level, to the overall spectator and player experience, to the quality of the games produced, the event succeeded by every possible metric.

The past week has been one of the most amazing weeks of my life. Tyler and I came together five months ago, directly following the Texas StarCraft Showdown, Texas e-Sports Association’s most successful event up to that point. That event drew in about 300 people and peaked at about 2,500 concurrent viewers on the live stream. All of this was great, but why couldn’t we do more? Why couldn’t we do what professional organizations like Major League Gaming and the IGN Pro League were doing? Why couldn’t we revolutionize e-sports? To be honest, there was no reason. So that’s what we set out to do. Over the following months, our group poured countless hours into contacting sponsors, meeting partners, and networking with everyone we could. Over that time, we built an amazing team of the most dedicated, hard-working, and passionate people I have ever had the pleasure of working with. Before long, we had production, player room, media, and logistics leads tirelessly working to ensure an event worthy of our lofty visions. All the while, sponsorship calls continued, venue negotiations slowly made progress, and more and more people began to believe in our vision.

  

There were nights where not a minute of sleep was had. Meetings occurred every night for hours on end. From rooftop terraces, to the crowded classrooms, to late nights on Skype, agreements were constantly made, negotiations constantly adjusted, ideas were constantly born and raised. All along the way, we took every opportunity to learn and ensure that our event was carried out with the utmost of professionalism. By March, we had secured the headline sponsors we sought. We had secured 16 of the most popular and most skilled StarCraft II players in existence. We had arranged partnerships with fantastic lighting and camera teams needed to give the Lone Star Clash the edge for which we were looking. The Sunday before the Lone Star Clash, the fun began! The players Ilyes “Stephano” Satouri and Aleksey “WhiteRa” Krupnyk arrived and took residence in the Lone Star Clash Gaming House we arranged for them to use to practice in the week between the IPL SxSW Showmatch and the Lone Star Clash. As the week continued, players like Dragon, EGDeMusliM, EGiNcontrol, vileState, and dignitasBlinG joined the house. That week, we set up the venue from 9am to 5pm daily, but introduced the players to American parties, late-night barbeques in the park, LAN parties with the IPL and Twitch.tv staff, shooting ranges, and the Austin nightlife during the evenings. Excellent times were had by all and deep bonds were formed.

   

To be blunt, the Lone Star Clash shattered every single expectation we had. We knew that we had the right people in the right places to put on an amazing show. We knew that we would impress everyone who showed up. We were confident in our abilities, but we didn’t know how many other people would be willing to lend us their confidence to tune in to our event over the others happening that weekend and find these things out for themselves. As it turned out, we had nothing to worry about! We had over 600 live spectators attend the event, in addition to 16 professional players, 84 collegiate players, and a staff of about 40 valiant volunteers. In all, we broadcasted over two streams for a total of 42 hours and provided a total of 725,000 hours of entertainment. Combining views from both streams, we had over 1.5 million views and millions of total impressions. At our peak, we reached about 47,000 concurrent viewers, a feat that only the most well-known tournaments aspire to achieve.

  

Throughout the two-day event, collegiate teams from eight states including Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, New Mexico, and Texas, fought for the right to claim the title of the best Collegiate StarLeague team in the southern United States. Alongside these young players, sixteen of the world’s best StarCraft II players from 6 countries including France, Korea, Netherlands, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, and the United States faced off on a stage of crimson and azure to play through a 16-person double elimination bracket for a $10,000 prize pool.

  

The resulting games were no less than legendary. Many players performed as well as expected, yet others surprised everyone with their stunning performances. Throughout the weekend, spectators shared a suspenseful journey through the battlefields, accompanied by the reassuring and professional commentary of Ben “MrBitter” Nichol, Kevin “RotterdaM” van der Kooi, and Alex “Axeltoss” Rodriguez. Spectators, both in-person and online, were dazzled by the stunning lightshow that mimicked the frenzy of the relentless audience.

  

Ultimately, four players emerged victorious. Destroying all foes who dared to approach him, the French-by-birth, American-at-heart legend Stephano claimed the first place prize. Stephano was followed by Choi “Polt” Sung Hoon, Kim “Sleep” Seong Han, and Manuel “Grubby” Schenkhuizen in 2nd, 3rd, and 4th respectively. On the collegiate side, Texans reigned supreme as the University of North Texas came in first, followed by the University of Texas at Austin, University of Houston, and Texas State University.

  

In all, the event was an overwhelming success. From the amazing production level, to the overall spectator and player experience, to the quality of the games produced, the event succeeded by every possible metric. The overall community response has left me utterly speechless. I am enthused to see that so many people enjoyed the result of the hard work of everyone involved. The excitement of the community only furthers our drive to host incredible events like this in the future. Huge thanks go out to everyone involved in the event. I cannot express in words my gratitude to our entire team. Without the unwavering support of the Texas e-Sports Association officer team,Cyber Sports Network, and Quantic Events, none of this would have been possible. Also, I cannot extend enough thanks to our sponsors TteSPORTS, BenQ, Alienware, Twitch.tv, Texas Parents, and Campus2Careers. Please support these groups and show them how much you appreciate their involvement in the Lone Star Clash!

My entire life, I have been a firm believer that nothing is impossible. If we sincerely yearn for something to be, the only thing that can hold us back is ourselves. In my eyes, the entire process of creating the Lone Star Clash is the perfect embodiment of this truth. Four months ago we started with nothing more than an idea; a dream of a far-off and not-yet-imagined destination. This weekend, we saw that vision transform into reality. This weekend, a group of the most talented college students in the world changed the e-sports landscape forever… and this is just the beginning.

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