SAGU Sports to Broadcast Live
Streaming Video Production to Allow Viewers Worldwide
WAXAHACHIE, Texas -- After two years of preparations, Southwestern Assemblies of God University will begin broadcasting athletic games, live over the internet, free of cost to viewers everywhere.
The web-based broadcasts, sent via video-streaming, will be filmed in high-definition, which is a point of distinction. SAGU is the only institution in the Central States Football League to produce their games this season, and the only ones in the Red River Athletic Conference to do them in Hi-Def. The RRAC has 14 members who play soccer, basketball, baseball and other sports.
John Cookman, the Director of Media Services at the Dallas area, private Christian university, says the product's distinguishing mark will be the TV broadcast quality. "Fans should notice the difference," he said in late August. "Filming with hi-def equipment will add clarity and separate us from the local yokels on YouTube."
Cookman also pointed out the crew working to produce this project is comprised of about 80% students. "This will be an academically directed endeavor."
"This helps put us on a national and global playing field," he continued. "It will help show who we are. In opening the door, I believe the broadcasts will generate growth, academically, and increase the number of media degrees being sought. At SAGU, we love sports and communications, and are advancing in collegiate media technology."
Where the Games can be Seen
The games can be viewed over the internet on computers, laptops, iPhones, androids and Windows mobile products. To access the broadcasts, visit the university website, click on Athletics and scroll down to Live Streaming and click on the play button. According to Daniel Woodward, the school's digital webmaster, the stream will be on the sports streaming page.
First Game: September 4
SAGU Sports Live will debut this Saturday, September 4, when they broadcast the football home opener of Southwestern versus Austin College at 7:00pm (CST). The pre-game show starts at 6:45pm. Lumpkins Stadium, with a seating capacity of 8,000, serves as SAGU's home field in Waxahachie, which is less than 30 miles south of Dallas.
The Lions compete as dual members of the National Intercollegiate Athletics Association (NAIA) and the National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA). Austin College, from Sherman, Texas, are in the National Collegiate Athletic Association's (NCAA) Division III.
The second broadcast will be a historic occasion. SAGU will battle with North Dakota's Trinity Bible College in the first-ever football game between Assemblies of God institutions. That game is set for September 18 with a noon (CST) kickoff. Other home games slated on the SAGU Sports Network include dates on October 26 (Northwestern Oklahoma State University), November 6 (Haskell Indian Nations) and November 13 (Texas College). The Lions 2010 Homecoming game is on November 6. The last three football game broadcasts are set to begins at 1:45pm for the pre-game show, followed by a 2pm kickoff.
For fans who miss the live broadcast, they will be re-shown later each day. The games will be archived, allowing access afterwards. Details will be announced.
Broadcast Menu to Include Basketball
SAGU will also be producing about ten home basketball doubleheaders, featuring both the men's and women's teams. A schedule will be posted on the university athletics website. Both teams have qualified for the NAIA 32-team national tournament in recent years, including the Lady Lions in the spring of this season.
"We are very excited about bringing these games as a service to family, friends and fans of the university," stated Dr. Kermit Bridges, the president at Southwestern. "It reflects very well of the quality and growth we're experiencing." He may be interviewed, live, at halftime of the September 4th game.
SAGU is expecting to top last year's enrollment record of 2,013 students. Athletic teams are competing well and a number of players have received league and national recognition. Two football players are on two different preseason All-America teams this year, including The Sporting News.
"It is my hope these broadcasts will assist in recruitment for athletes and by exposing prospects to our programs," Dr. Bridges added.
Veteran Head Coach of the football Lions, Jesse Godding, added: "The capacity to have our games available to parents, alumni, and potential recruits provides enhanced visibility and strengthens our program quality. We are grateful to the administration and media services for allocating the resources necessary to make this venture possible."
It was Coach Godding, himself, who initiated things. "When I joined the staff at Southwestern two years ago," Cookman explained, "the coach approached me and asked if I knew anything about streaming video on the internet, because I have this idea about putting our games on-line. And here we are today!"
The broadcast booth at Lumpkins Stadium will see the press box maxed out as much of the main level will be transformed into SAGU's Sports Studio. The former and the current Sports Information Directors, Clay Scarborough (on the right in photo above) and Mark "Link" Warde, will supply the roles of play-by-play and color analyst for football. The voice of Southwestern football, the public address announcer, will continue to be Cameron Ward, a SAGU student-athlete.
Southwestern's veteran Athletic Director, Dr. Jerry Boone, has aided the process to this stage. "We are glad to be able to provide this service to Lion fans across the country. Parents of our athletes that may not be fortunate to be able to see their sons and daughters play in person, have been especially receptive. We believe that this project will grow and put us at the forefront in NAIA circles in broadcasting games."
Terry Phipps, the Vice President for Student Services, echoed Boone's sentiments. "There is a lot of anticipation in the air about this project," he quipped. "With our students and graduates across the country, many will become part of the action. We had alumni viewers from Brazil, Europe, Latvia, Africa and many others e-mail us during (pilot) games we did last year. I think this will give our college some very positive exposure."
Students as Catalysts
While Cookman is the producer, students will coordinate much of everything else. Landon Perry is the director and Tim Roberts mans one of several cameras. A team of students make up a staff of sideline reporters, journalists and researchers, headed by Danielle Chambers and Krystle Sonmore.
"It is an exciting time to be a part of the Media Services department," Perry said after filming a promo last week. "As a communication arts student here, I have many opportunities to get up-to-date and relevant on-the-job training through video shoots, chapel broadcasts and now, sports broadcasts. What other A/G (Assembly of God) college can you get such training?"
"Our sports streaming is going to set SAGU on the map as a professional, high end broadcast training school, one that I hope will one day rival secular schools. I am excited that I can be one of the team members that are making this happen," he continued.
"My hopes are that our viewing audience is entertained, that prospective students are influenced to enroll at SAGU, and that our broadcast students gain the needed experience to go into the professional world equipped for any job," Perry concluded.
Roberts, whose aesthetic insights make him welcome at planning and pre-production meetings, is equally stoked about what this means to a school that continues to grow.
"SAGU Sports Live gives students a chance at real world, live sports broadcasting," he said. "It will showcase our growing media program to the world, and I hope people will tune in and see a broadcast not unlike one you would catch on TV on Saturday afternoon."
While the first season targets football and basketball, expanding to other SAGU athletic venues is already in the dialog.