Local news. Locally owned.

Boise State puts players on virtual game field with Downtown arena

Regence Blue Shield of Idaho

The Blue Turf is world-famous. But if Dr. Chris Haskell has his way, a virtual turf will also be a signature of the school.

Haskell, who goes by Doc, runs the school’s esports program, which is part of the school’s education technology department.

And nestled inside a BSU facility in the Bodo area sits a slick, high-tech arena. In it, esports teams from around the region compete in several video games, and everything is streamed live on the Internet – complete with ESPN-style broadcasters.

“I’m a career learning junkie,” Haskell said as he showed off the facility earlier this fall. “When we started on this, my wife had to nudge me at 2am… ‘I don’t know what you are working on, but go to sleep.'”

Those sleepless nights led to an esports program that has the nation’s most wins. It also has that arena, complete with room for eight players, a broadcast platform, TV-style control room, lots of flat screens, fancy lights and more.

- Story continues below ads -
Idaho Central Credit Union Business Banking
TOK Commercial

“It has to be a place you want to come hang out,” he said. “We have to get kids to support what their classmates are doing. We want this to be the coolest thing ever.”

Big time in Boise

It creates a big-time atmosphere for a sport that’s fast-growing in participation.

It all runs like any other sport.

The Boise State esports broadcast control room. Photo: Don Day/BoiseDev

“Kids show up an hour or so before. The start warming up – and might hold a scrimmage. The broadcast talent is here 30 minutes before. They go over the rundown and script and flow of the show.”

The online broadcasters and team members go over how the game might go, and make sure the game plan and broadcast plan tie together.

ESPN profiled the school’s esports program in 2018. It highlighted the team and its coed nature. “They are just trying to put esports on the map for collegiate sports,” ESPNW’s Katie Barnes said in a 2018 report.

That map now includes each traditional Mountain West Conference school. The esports team often plays the same matchup the football teams play the next day.

For instance, Boise State and the New Mexico Lobos played at Albertsons Stadium on November 16th. On November 15th, the esports teams faced off in Overwatch.

While the games are fun to play – Haskell said the educational mission is real.

“The type of stuff we work on here is related to almost every industry that people could go into,” he said. “Messaging, storytelling, logistics, communications…” he said listing a few.

And as esports grows, Haskell said he hopes Boise State’s program does too. He hopes to expand into additional space along Capitol Blvd. in Bodo.

BoiseDev is the area's only locally-owned commercial news outlet. Your support will help us cover more stories and bring you more vital information. Become a member today!

Popular

St. Luke’s, Saint Alphonsus on rising number of COVID patients: ‘we’ve got to be ahead of this’

With the number of cases of COVID rising across Idaho - and the Boise metro area - the leaders at the top...

Owners of Plantation hope to revamp Garden City code to make way for changes

The new owner of the Plantation Country Club (which will soon change its name), hopes Garden City will revamp a portion of...

Related

Holland and Hart

Latest

Farmer’s market to supermarket: Idaho food startups to compete in annual competition

Trailhead, a local nonprofit supporting entrepreneurs, innovators, and business people, is teaming up with Albertsons this year for the third annual Trailmix...

After 20+ years, planned expansion of Boise building set to start

Developers hope to expand an office building on the Boise Bench - adding space to the 1998-era project. Orchard...

Despite air traffic slowdown, work on new gate at BOI continues

Even with an overall slowdown in air traffic at the Boise Airport, and with big pieces of the airport's master plan on...

He helped rebuild Albertsons. Now Robert Miller (again) retires

Ask about Bob Miller in the halls of Boise's Albertsons Companies, and you might get a reaction similar to the reverence for...

Buy food, give food: Simplot to hold second frozen goods sale, money going to the Idaho Food Bank

In April, The JR Simplot Company held a ‘Neighborhood Food Raiser’ in Caldwell and Buhl and gave $10,000 in proceeds to the...

The Flicks is back open: Here’s the plan

Boise's independent movie theater The Flicks quietly reopened late last month, after several months behind locked doors due to COVID-19.