College League of Legends analysts, coaches and players will get a taste of the analytical tools pros use, thanks to a partnership between Battlefy and DOJO Madness, the organizations announced Thursday.
Battlefy, which runs the Riot Games-sponsored College League of Legends event, and DOJO Madness, owners of esports analytics platform Shadow.gg, have partnered to create a collegiate version of Shadow for participating programs. Shadow.gg is used by pro teams in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Dota 2 and League, and a simplified version of its platform that fits the budget and information constraints of college teams is planned to roll out starting in early March, according to Tim Sevenhuysen, DOJO's Head of Shadow Initiatives.
"We see collegiate esports as an opportunity space for a lot of different reasons," Sevenhuysen said. "Just for the long-term growth and health of the esports scene, you've got to have competition at all levels, engagement at all levels, and we want to be a part of that. We want to be a part of the long-term growth of esports."
In terms of analytics, college esports has plenty of room to grow.
One of the challenges for teams seeking statistics and analytics information in the college scene is the lack of some of the more basic information available for pro teams. Not all college matches are streamed or catalogued for stats by individual teams, which makes keeping clean data difficult.
DOJO's partnership with Battlefy, which has access to all of the match data from College League of Legends thus far, gives Sevenhuysen's team the ability to fill in those holes and provide near-professional-level reference materials to college squads.
Shadow costs pro teams €900, or a little more than $1,100, per month. The college version, Sevenhuysen said, will use a similar subscription model but will be more gracious in its pricing. A price point will be announced when the product launches, he said.
"It's a little bit of a simplified version of the tool, but it has the core power that the pro teams have gotten used to using," Sevenhuysen said. "We're kind of matching our business model to the environment that we're putting it into."
There are benefits beyond access to drill-down data for teams, too, Sevenhuysen said.
"They're using something that's functionally the same as the professionals are using," he said. "Those analysts and coaches are actually setting themselves up with something on their résumé that will help them with getting into the pro scene, help them understand the game better, help them be better-equipped to kind of apply for these positions with a pro team, and that's something we're super excited about as well."
The regular-season rounds for the more than 300 teams participating in College League of Legends are nearly over, and DOJO does not currently have any official partner schools for the launch of its tool. However, as regional qualifiers begin and the June national championships approach, that will likely change, particularly with several scholarship-sponsored esports programs among the locks for top regional seeds.
This is also an investment in the future, Sevenhuysen said, both for the teams and for DOJO. Although there are no formal plans, he said he could see adding to the college suite in the future a tiered system that provides more sophisticated information to clients who are able to provide more information and match the necessary price point.
"There's still a business case for doing this, and we are a business," he said. "We just see a big, wide-open horizon of collegiate esports, and we want to be in there as close as to the ground floor as we can and making ourselves a part of the experience for these teams."