Inside the CEC continues today with an interview from Rosemary “Nekkra” Kelley. Nekkra is an esports caster and host with extensive knowledge of the collegiate esports scene. She also covered the CEC in-person as a story producer for the Overwatch casting crew.
Her unique production-oriented perspective gives a glimpse into what was going on behind-the-scenes in Houston and what can be done to improve collegiate esports events in the future.
Would you mind starting off by introducing yourself for those who may not know you? What brought you to the CEC?
Hi! My name is Rosemary “Nekkra” Kelley and I am a shoutcaster and host for esports. I went to the CEC because I wanted to follow the project that I started, in-person, by casting the Collegiate Championships for Tespa up until best of 8.
What was your favorite part of the event?
Looking back, my favorite part of the event was just seeing how excited the players were to be a part of such a large LAN event. They were given an opportunity to get casted by and talked about by some of their idols like Jake, Goldenboy, Anna, Avast, ZP… it was wild.
Did you gain any sacred wisdom from Avast, ZP, JAKE, or Goldenboy that you can share?
I got a lot of advice from Avast, ZP, Jake, and Goldenboy. I think the biggest point for anyone that wants to get started in this industry is to do it because you love it and because you want to create a story.
What was the biggest challenge or what pushed you the most?
The biggest challenge was just ensuring an event of that size went off without a hitch. We definitely hit roadblocks but it was important that we all adapted and adjusted the way we did. We really worked together as a team!
What was the energy like at the arena? Talk me through how the players and the fans reacted to the LAN aspect of the weekend?
The energy was great when there were people in the arena. *laughs* Friday was a slower day because people were still working but the audience picked up when Saturday and Sunday came around. Especially for the grand finals. There were cheering sections for both Utah and Harrisburg and whenever something happened, good or bad, there was always a response from the audience. I think it provided larger stakes to the game. Overall it felt like the LAN experience was positive for both players and fans alike.
What, in your opinion, could be done to better improve collegiate events like this in the future? Maybe to get more fans in the arena?
I think that having the events centralized in a place where the schools can more easily access would improve events in the future. There’d be more parents, family, friends, etc. that I think would pack the stands.
What differentiates a collegiate esports event like this from a Contenders or OWL event? What do you see, on the production side of things, that sets it apart?
Collegiate esports are different than Contenders or OWL because it’s a different caliber of the game. Right now, there isn’t a clear delineation of where college students and collegiate esports athletes can go next with their gaming careers, unlike national sports leagues like the NFL, NHL, etc. What’s exciting about collegiate esports, is that you are performing for an entity that is larger than yourself, much like the academy teams of Contenders. Production-wise, having a LAN that is the crowning achievement, the light at the end of the tunnel, is a big difference.
You’ve been in and around the collegiate esports scene for a while, so what does this event mean for collegiate Overwatch, and esports in general, moving forward?
Collegiate esports is on its way to becoming the next big thing. There are a lot of schools that are on board with providing scholarships to players to come play Overwatch for their school. And it isn’t just Overwatch. I am hoping that other schools will start hopping on board because esports are picking up in the high school scene too. This event, especially with ESPN’s name behind it, puts collegiate esports solidly on the map and I want to see the scene carry through with that momentum.
Lastly, any parting words or people you want to thank?
I want to thank Tespa for giving me the opportunity to be a part of the collegiate esports scene as a shoutcaster. I missed the chance to be a part of esports when I was in college, but Tespa has helped me open a lot of doors to becoming the analyst and storyteller that I am. It’s been an honor to work with them.
To keep up with Nekkra and the events she’s casting, follow her on Twitter! Stay tuned for continued coverage from the Inside the CEC series here, at The Game Haus.
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Featured Image Courtesy of Gabriel Christus / ESPN Images
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