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May 2, 2022

College Athletics – Doing it Live!

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By Janel Fleming Moorefield, Director of Sales & Sales Group Manager, Sports

Video has taken over the internet and the need to grow your video brand has only become more important.  Universities need to stand out amongst the crowd of colleges competing to recruit the best and brightest to their campuses.  A unique set of assets that Universities can leverage; college teams and, hopefully, a video department.   

We all understand that video is an essential part of content creation for any organization. For College Athletics specifically, Live Streaming their events and games has been on the rise.  It’s not just the Basketball and Football programs either, the market has seen an increase in coverage of games across all sports, produced by the schools themselves.  

Why Live?

Live content has become a staple in the social media world. According to LiveStream, 80% of consumers would rather watch live video from a brand than read a blog (congrats on being in the 20%). And 87% would prefer to watch video online if it meant more behind-the-scenes content. 

Live video gives access to the teams and to the players, that your fans and viewers would not always have when attending the game in person.   For coaches, it’s the most valuable recruitment tool while speaking to prospective athletes.  For Athletes, it’s an opportunity to build their brand (a NEW factor considered by prospective recruits).   With any new content, organizations can open potential sponsorship opportunities or rights deals with streaming networks.  For Colleges, live video has proven to contribute to spillover revenue like ticket and merchandise sales or even alumni donations.   

Live video enriches your programming with authentic and instantaneous content, giving fans real connections with the teams and schools they love. And now more than ever, parents, extended family members, alumni and friends want to stay engaged with their favorite student athletes and/or sport when they cannot attend games in person. 

But, this isn’t all new information.  Colleges looking for more ways to grow their athletic program always consider enhancing their live streaming capabilities.  To many of you, the problem is not why to do it, but how to do it.  Factors like limited personnel, limiting budgets and how to make it equitable across the many varsity teams a school has, can often feel like a hurdle too high to jump over (pun intended).   

This is where LiveU can help.

LiveU offers the most versatile production workflow that allows College production teams to cover any sport, in any location.  With LiveU’s portable encoders, producers can send camera angles back to a centralized production control room and cut a live event remotely.  Many refer to this as “REMI” or “At-Home Production. 

LiveU is unique; the portable, battery powered encoders used can leverage the public internet to connect video signals from a remote location back to a control room, using campus Ethernet, Campus WiFi, and/or cellular networks.

LiveU’s REMI production introduces a workflow designed to improve logistics and reduce the cost of live production.  Many major broadcast networks and production companies leverage REMI workflows today.  It helps to reduce travel time, increase the types of sports they can cover and significantly reduces costs of production.

Colleges adopt this formula as well, for many of the same reasons.  The idea of centralizing your production, means using your video switcher, replay systems (for those lucky enough to get one!), graphics engines and audio mixing out of a fixed location on campus.   If the rowing team has a regatta, cross country team has a championship event, or your beach volleyball team are asking for a tournament to be streamed, with the LiveU REMI production workflow in place there’s no limit to the reach you have and the teams you can cover.   

Taking it a step further, LiveU’s REMI solution integrates seamlessly with cloud production environments as well as physical environments.  Many campuses have existing production resources built into basketball or football venues, or somewhere on campus.  If you have overflow of events that you’re existing resources can’t cover, you can easily spin up cloud production environments and point your LiveU encoders to a cloud platform instead, giving you a turnkey workflow that makes producing any sport, at any time, easy. 

One of the advantages of IP bonded transport technology and mobile encoders is flexibility.  The ability to live stream any sport and produce it the way viewers expect to see it (Olympics coverage can sometimes set a remarkably high bar!).  Broadcasting different college sports can require different workflows and sometimes different technologies to produce it.  Some sports may require multiple cameras, some may only require one, and some could even benefit from drone cameras or equipment in cars or on boats for more dynamic coverage.  

With LiveU, having a device where portability and connectivity are built in can give you this flexibility and foster creative setups. In my next blog we’ll discuss athletes and their NIL opportunities, fan engagement and ways for universities to monetize content.