It’s the bottom of the ninth and the pressure is on. Athletics departments across the country have long known the value of live streaming a sporting event, but there’s a difference between knowing and doing, and the doers are the ones who get to share their touchdown dance moves with millions of viewers.
Live streaming sporting events allows your university to extend its reach beyond the stadium and engage with fans in real time, so why aren’t more universities investing in it?
“Expectations for stream quality in today’s marketplace often transcend an organization’s resources, as viewers will always ask why the video they are watching is not as good as ‘XYZ’s’ broadcast across town,” says JD Fox, operations and production manager, Stretch Internet.
Stretch Internet is a leading player in the collegiate sports space, providing streaming services for upwards of 650 colleges in the U.S. and Canada. Switchboard Live and Stretch Internet announced a slam-dunk partnership last month.
“To help them make the most of what they have, the industry needs to push for solutions that minimize the strain on these resources, to both lower the barriers to entry, as well as allow for more ‘bells and whistles’ to become possible on a broadcast system,” says JD. “Innovative platforms such as Switchboard Live allow these parties to reach a bigger audience than they ever could previously, while also lowering the computing power and networking footprint of the broadcast as a whole.”
When there’s a disconnect between university resources and desired reach, athletics departments turn to solutions like Switchboard Cloud. That’s just what Villanova University did earlier this year.
Prior to using Switchboard Cloud, Villanova streamed its press conferences, game previews, and coaches’ shows exclusively via Facebook due to bandwidth limitations. Today, Villanova streams all of its live shows on its Facebook, Periscope, YouTube, and College Sports Live on a weekly basis while keeping the bandwidth strain to a minimum, making cross-platform streaming possible from more locations.
Ryan Christiansen, multimedia and production coordinator, says Villanova is now utilizing live content in place of feature content for events like season previews and game previews.
“Most social platforms allow viewers to interact and comment during the live event which is great for engaging with our fans and alumni,” says Ryan. “Villanova hosted three live shows on it’s Men’s Basketball platforms leading up to the Final Four and National Championship. We experienced a large spike in engagement and viewership during all three shows. The live content also gave our digital strategy a great nuance, with fans being exposed to graphics and pre-produced videos, we were able to break through the clutter in the digital media space.”
When Switchboard Live asked Ryan what advice he would give to a university considering multi-channel streaming, he told us:
“Plain and simple, live streaming allows Athletic Departments to engage their fans in real time, and empowers them to ask questions and engage with one another. Live content keeps fans up to date and helps parents and alumni feel like they’re part of the experience, even if they can’t be present for the physical event.”