James Downs, associate professor of history and American studies, will spend the 2015-16 academic year studying medical anthropology at Harvard University.
Parents, alumni, fans, friends and prospective students across the globe can tune in to cheer on the Camels thanks to a new initiative that is also helping students gain real-world experience in sports broadcasting.
The Department of Athletics — led by Fran Shields, the Katherine Wenk Christoffers '45 Director of Athletics — introduced live videocasting of home events last year. It’s been a very successful endeavor, thanks in large part to the team of students who film the contests and offer play-by-play and color commentary.
“We train them and guide them, making sure they have everything they need to put on a successful webcast, but they do all the real work,” said Kelsey Lengyel-Jacovich, coordinator of athletics operations. Lengyel-Jacovich manages the program and maintains the schedule of events and student broadcasters, who are paid for their work.
The College contracted with First Team Broadcasting to provide equipment, bandwidth, consulting and a producer for each broadcast.
“The most challenging thing is definitely having to pay close attention to every play to make sure you don't miss anything important that people watching at home would want to see,” said Shannon Mills ’15, a psychology major who operates the camera when she’s on videocast duty. “I do try and show the scoreboard a lot during games and zoom in on players the best I can so people watching from home can see the players they know.”
Steven Victor, a junior majoring in government and minoring in history and economics, has provided both color and play-by-play commentary since a concussion last year put an end to his College hockey career. Not only does broadcasting give him an opportunity to “give back to the school and athletic department for all they have done for me,” it has also changed the way he watches televised sports, compelling him to pay more attention to the professional commentators and incorporate the character and charisma of his favorites into his own broadcasts. If things work out the way he’d like, his days on camera will extend beyond his years at Connecticut College.
“Initially it started out as fun for me, and it still is. But now I am open to the idea of pursuing a career in this field,” Victor said.
Said Lengyel-Jacovich of the students’ broadcasting opportunity, “It's a real resume-builder. They’re gaining some of the key skills employers look for.”
The videocasts also help members of the College community stay involved even when they’re not on campus.
“We had great viewership the first year, and the teams we covered had nothing but good things to say about how their parents, grandparents and friends had access to our contests,” said Shields. “It’s especially gratifying in situations like our volleyball team’s historic run to the NCAA tournament. Many of them are from California and Texas, and their friends and families back home were so happy to be able to watch them compete. And we had a women's soccer player from Spain whose family loved watching the games.”
The broadcasts are available on the Connecticut College athletics website. Upcoming contests include:
• Women’s Ice Hockey: Jan. 24, 7 p.m., vs. Wesleyan
• Men’s Ice Hockey: Jan. 25, 7 p.m., vs. Trinity
• Men’s Ice Hockey: Jan. 26, 3 p.m., vs. Wesleyan
• Women’s Ice Hockey: Jan. 31, 7 p.m., vs. Amherst
• Women’s Basketball: Feb. 1, 2 p.m., vs. Bates
• Men’s Basketball: Feb. 1, 4 p.m., vs. Bates
• Women’s Basketball: Feb. 4, 6 p.m., vs. Eastern Connecticut State University
• Men’s Ice Hockey: Feb. 8, 7 p.m., vs. Tufts
• Women’s Basketball: Feb. 14, 6 p.m., vs. Williams
• Men’s Basketball: Feb. 14, 8 p.m., vs. Williams
• Women’s Basketball: Feb. 15, 2 p.m., vs. Hamilton
• Men’s Basketball: Feb. 15, 4 p.m., vs. Hamilton