The Online Evolution of BU Athletics

A small university jumps into sports social media and live broadcasting

Project by Chad Mullen and Cort Brennan     |     Published May 18, 2016

In the past few years, Baker University has significantly improved its online live streaming with sporting events so families, friends and even some former players can watch all of the action.

For example, Kyle Pattrick, a Baker graduate who played on the baseball team, likes to watch the live streams of baseball games and other sporting events whenever he can. He currently is a graduate assistant at Wichita State University. He said the live streams of the games are of good quality a majority of the time.

Baker hasn’t always had the convenience of being able to live stream games on the Baker Athletics website. Current Baker Sports Information Director Tyler Price has been the driving force for sports media in BU athletics.

Prior to Price arriving in 2012, Baker only provided live video streaming for football, soccer and basketball online. Currently, Baker supplies live video streaming for football, soccer, volleyball, basketball, baseball, softball and wrestling. This year Baker even experimented with streaming a home track meet at Liston Stadium.

Baseball and softball, among others, never had any coverage whatsoever before 2012. These sports have now had live stats online along with video during games for the past three years.

Price acknowledges that internet connectivity has been the key.

“It’s amazing what adding internet can do. And that’s all we did,” Price said. “We just supplied really nice, fast, hard-line internet to all of these venues, and that really changed everything.”

In the past four years Baker has expanded live coverage of at least stats to almost all of the 19 varsity sports on campus. The first online video stream of a Baker football game was around 2009. This school year Baker had multiple football and women's basketball games broadcast on ESPN3, the online ESPN network.

Price recognizes that there still is room for improvement. With video streaming, Price believes that they could enhance the online viewing experience by adding more cameras to all home playing fields.

“To really take it to the next level, we could use a multi-camera system for the sporting events,” Price said. “Have a camera on the field for football, a camera on the court for basketball, just to get a better vantage point of the action.”

Baker currently has only one camera system used for online streaming. This is problematic from a coverage standpoint because home games occasionally coincide with each other. The camera can only be at one venue during one specific time, so if the baseball and softball teams are playing at the same time, only one of those games is being streamed online.

One of Pattrick's concerns is that sometimes there is no audio or commentary, just the game itself. He also noted that at times the stats shown adjacent to the video are incorrect, but that the overall production usually is effective.

Despite limitations in equipment and available technology, a close look at the BU sports media timeline over the past few years suggests that the athletic department is making a continued investment in bringing updated content to Baker sports fans online though live stats, live audio and live video streaming.