Boise State University has entered the world of Valorant eSports with the creation of a varsity team. The Broncos eSports program currently has teams for League of Legends, Overwatch, and Rocket League. Now Riot Games’s competitive shooter will be their next foray into building up their roster.

After having a “supporting team” for the shooter, or in other terms—a student led club team, the university chose to enter the realm of varsity tournaments and championships this semester.

Dr. Chris Haskell, the Head Coach of the Broncos eSports program felt it was the next step for them. “There’s no bigger indicator to us of the strength of a game than its youth player base, and they’re playing it more than any other game that we play,” Haskell said.

Valorant’s Rise in Esports

With Valorant coming up on its two-year anniversary this summer, it quickly rose to popularity among the eSports circuit, rivaling games such as its direct competitor, CS:GO.

“Valorant was really our first tactical FPS game we picked up. The supporting team was headed by … a former Overwatch player for about a year,” said Assistant Coach Alex Moore.

The Broncos have a historied reputation with Overwatch, one of their other main competitive games, including winning the NACE Overwatch Coach of the Year Award in 2020. Christopher Rodriguez, a former Overwatch player, is now one of the members for the Broncos Valorant team.

“Valorant and Overwatch both have their strengths for sure,” Rodriguez said. “I think that Valorant as far as popularity and lifespan … is gonna be around a lot longer than Overwatch, especially when considering the difference between the companies.”

The Broncos compete in many different conferences, such as the National Associations of Collegiate Esports and Unified Collegiate Esports Association. Boise State offers scholarships as well for their eSports players who demonstrate excellence and meet the standards met by the university’s program.

Written By Carter Barnes