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Concordia sports lack online streaming capabilities

In the technological world of social media and smartphones, being connected to everything at all times has never been easier. For sports fans this means score updates via push notifications, 140-character commentary via Twitter, and even live online streaming. However sports fans wanting to stay connected to all things Cobber athletics, but finding them- selves outside of the “Concordia Bubble” might find their online experience disappointing due to a lack of online streaming.

“I studied abroad in Spain and missed the first half of the season,” said Emily Goff, a member of Concordia’s women’s hockey team. “I could only watch away games.”

Sports such as basketball, volleyball, wrestling and football are streamed online; however, sports such as baseball, softball, soccer and hockey are not. While abroad, Goff was only capable of watching five of the first 11 games of the season because the team played at another school with streaming services.

“It’s frustrating that hockey isn’t streamed,” Goff said. “Sometimes I feel like we’re forgotten about.”

Sports Information Director Jim Cella says that there are multiple factors that go into whether or a not a sport can be streamed. For sports such as baseball and softball there is a lack of a press box.

“There’s nowhere to shoot video from,” Cella said.

And for those two sports plus the others that are not streamed, there is a lack of a reliable internet connection.

The Sports Information Department can provide live stats online by using a wireless internet card, but Cella says that the card can be unreliable at times and is not capable of providing streaming coverage.

However, streaming home hockey games is on the horizon.

“Last year Concordia put in money to put in a system that could provide streaming to the football games and any game that was on the football field,” said Kyle Bartholomay, a student worker at Digital Media Services. “They are looking into putting in networking at Moorhead High School so we can stream hockey games.”

Cella echoes this statement saying that “the talks are ongoing.”

Since hockey games are played off campus, providing adequate internet service to the rink provides added challenges. The city of Moorhead owns the Moorhead Sports Center, not Concordia. As a result, determining who will provide funding for the project that is described by Cella as a “big chunk of change” is a question without an answer currently.

“It’s one of those things where we’re stuck,” Cella said.

Bruce Vieweg, associate vice president and chief information officer, said in an email statement that research is still being done to determine what the exact price of the project might be.

“There would be the cost for the network connection; cost for the personnel and the cost of the other equipment that is required,” Vieweg wrote. “We have a campus agreement for the streaming service that can have unlim- ited use, so there would be no cost to actually stream.”

Vieweg also said in the statement that he expects any bandwidth costs to be covered by Information Technology Services. According to Vieweg, ITS pays for all current bandwidth costs, close to $275,000 per year.

Barholomay says the possibilities that could arise from streaming hockey greatly outweigh the one-time setup fee.

“We want to get people excited about the sport,” Bartholomay said. “If they don’t re- ally know [hockey] and all they see is a scoreboard, they’re not going to have the same feel as watching it live. We’re in the age of technology. We need this stuff. If more people watch games, they’ll be more excited.”

For Goff, the possibility of streaming means that family members will have a chance to watch more of her games.

“For people who are not from here it’s hard to get up to our games,” Goff said. “I have family members out of state that could watch.”

Streaming would also help with recruitment of prospective student-athletes.

“Kids who are interested in coming to Concordia for an athletic team can watch the team they want to play for,” Goff said.

The potential benefits of adding to the list of sports that are live streamed online extend beyond athletics. Bartholomay says that additional streaming opportunities could also help Concordia’s journalism and communication studies programs.

“[It gives] them an opportunity to not only shoot the video, but also record audio, do the announcing, be the guy who’s doing the play-by-play,” Bartholomay said. “If you want to go into sports and you want to do that in your real life, that’s a great chance. It could help students and the college as a whole.”

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