VALORANT’s pool of on-air talent is getting one new addition at Champions Istanbul 2022: Chrissy Costanza, the leader singer of American rock band Against The Current.
Champions will not be Costanza’s first time working an esports event. In fact, her (highly memorable) debut in the esports world came in 2017 in Beijing, China. In front of a live audience numbering in the thousands — with hundreds of thousands more watching from home — Costanza belted out the lyrics to “Legends Never Die,” the League of Legends Worlds anthem that she and her band produced for Riot Games.
Oh, yeah, there was also a giant dragon flying overhead.
Combining esports and music was a dream for Costanza, who’s been playing League of Legends and touring since she was 16.
“Being able to cross my two worlds like that was pretty legendary,” Costanza said in an interview.
While League was Costanza’s first love, she has since given first-person shooters their fair due. While she didn’t have much luck with games like Counter-Strike and Call of Duty, VALORANT was an instant pick-up for the 27-year-old singer.
“VALORANT came out, and that where I was like, ‘Oh, this is what I’ve been looking for in terms of what would make me really stoked for a shooter,'” she said. “I’ve played a ton of VALORANT since its beta.”
When you’ve travelled to over 40 countries and performed in front of millions of people, working as a desk host for a VALORANT tournament may seem like small potatoes. But that’s not the case for Costanza, who’s been working her way towards a spot on-air since she first began to develop a relationship with Riot in 2017.
The first time Costanza worked on broadcast was the red carpet event for the League of Legends animated series, “Arcane.” That was closely followed by Riot’s Undercity Nights event. Since then, she’s continued to to keep one foot in the world of esports.
Earlier in 2022, talks began about Costanza getting involved in the VALORANT Champions Tour. When Champions rolled around and Costanza got the nod, there was no doubt in her mind about whether she would accept the position.
Locked in for #VALORANTChampions İstanbul: Our on-air talent and observer team! 🎤🎥 pic.twitter.com/rjdaTWKm4f
— VALORANT Champions Tour (@ValorantEsports) August 17, 2022
“As someone who loves VALORANT and who had a blast just hosting for Riot, and being at any Riot event, I was like, ‘Yeah, no brainer,'” Costanza said.
Costanza will be working as a desk host in Istanbul, alongside the likes of Yinsu “Yinsu” Collins and Alex “Goldenboy” Mendez. It’s a new role for Costanza, but one she thinks she’ll get the hang of with enough time and preparation. Certainly, she’s no stranger to being in front of a camera.
“Music and performing songs and being on tour is just second nature at this point, so I don’t have to think about it,” Costanza said. “[Working on the desk] requires a lot more thought, because I don’t have that muscle memory yet, so I think that’s where some of the jitters will come from.”
Costanza at Champions
Costanza’s Champions preparations began by reaching out to her friend, colleague and VCT-staple Doug “EsportsDoug” Cortez.
“He’s awesome cause he’s helping me learn the ropes for my first time,” Costanza said. “I’ve never been on that side of the table.”
In 2021, when the VCT was just getting going, Costanza didn’t pay much attention to the scene with the exception of following a few favorite teams (Costanza refused to divulge her favorites for fear of “cursing” them. A certain incident in 2017 when Samsung Galaxy swept her favorite team, T1, came to mind — “I’ve now sworn to never reveal who I’m rooting for.”)
When Riot first reached out to Costanza about joining the on-air team earlier in the year, she started to pay close attention to the VCT.
“I was like, ‘All right, time to really dive in here,'” she said.
While Costanza has never worked on broadcast for a major esports event, she’s brushed shoulders with plenty of folks who have. She pointed to her former colleagues at the short-lived streaming network VENN, Daniel “dGon” Gonzales and James “Dash” Patterson, as two people with a skillset that she wants to emulate.
“I just admire both of them so much,” Costanza said. “I admire their energy and their charisma on camera.”
And of course, there’s one other person who anyone with a passing interest in League of Legends and a desire to break into the world of esports broadcast looks up to: Eefje “Sjokz” Depoortere. Costanza is no exception.
“She’s just become the female talent,” Costanza said. “She’s an icon for any female coming into the professional esports scene.”
Gamer, singer, host
As someone who loves gaming and esports, Costanza’s music collaborations with Riot were a dream come true, but they were also just a start. Since the release of “Legends Never Die,” Costanza has only become more and more involved in the world of esports and everything that it entails.
“Doing the music side is awesome, but you’re really there for one specific moment,” Costanza said. “I thought it’d be really cool to be part of the whole event in a way and watch the progression of everything.”
What’s more, Costanza has no intention of making Champions Istanbul a one-off performance. For her, this is just the start.
As for balancing a budding career in esports with her band, Against The Current? Well, Costanza’s not concerned.
“When it comes to having your own band, you get a lot more flexibility deciding when things happen,” she said. “So I’m not too stressed about it. I think it’s pretty easy to do both … A lot of musicians end up doing a multitude of different things as they get later into their careers.”
Champions Istanbul begins on Aug. 31. There, VALORANT fans who don’t already know Costanza through her band — or her Worlds anthems — will meet the rock star in her new capacity as an esports personality.
“I’m super super honored to be on the desk, especially at this event, at Champions,” Costanza said. “Thank you guys so much to everybody at Riot for giving me this opportunity. I promise to the fans I’m going to work really hard and make everybody proud.”