By Michaela Lumpert, Campus Carrier news editor
Viking Fusion created a new sports division team dedicated to live-broadcasting Berry sports games. The first broadcast game occurred this weekend when the Berry football team took on LaGrange College at home.
The division was created this year with senior Josh Mabry serving as sports director. He spent the summer interning with the Rome Braves, working with similar equipment in preparation for the start of the new division. He explained that because of his experience and preparation, the first broadcast was easy.
“Since I had this experience, it wasn’t nerve racking at all for me,” Mabry said. “I think the first game went really well.”
Unlike past Viking Fusion sports departments, the new division combines students’ passion for sports journalism with new technology to create a live broadcast. The need for the new program, as junior Noah Syverson, executive producer of Viking Fusion, described, came from both the need for a space for students to gain experience and the fact that Berry athletic teams are having success.
“It created a need to where we could really put out a professional-style broadcast that would do justice to the awesome thing that our athletic teams are doing,” Syverson said.
New technology, which Syverson describes as an “industry-standard,” has also enhanced the work that Mabry and his team can do. A new switcher allows for Mabry to switch seamlessly between different camera angles, graphics, commercials and openings. With the click of a mouse, Mabry can now switch between a camera feed from the booth at the top of the stadium to a camera right on the sidelines.
According to Steven Hames, Viking Fusion adviser, the new equipment has also made the work for the team easier. They are able to work more efficiently and effectively, as he described.
“This is much more streamed lined and much smarter in terms of what we can do,” Hames said.
On Saturday, the Fusion team broadcast its first game. Berry football took on LaGrange College for the first home game of the year. A crew of students worked at the four cameras at Valhalla stadium to stream the game live, while Mabry sat in the control room, switching between the different feeds.
There were also two students commenting on the game for viewers, following along with the footage. The entire broadcast was streamed live to the Berry Athletics page, with about a total of about 1000 viewers watching.
The sports division has also partnered with Blake Childers, the director of the sports information department, to create the division and plan the games that would be broadcast. According to Syverson, the partnership has been beneficial for both parties involved. He explains that the partnership allows for viewers to see a more professional broadcast, similar to that of ESPN, while also highlighting the success the teams are having. As Hames added, it allows for students to gain even more experience as well.
“For sports communications majors, it gives them a real world experience into live broadcasting, especially with multiple cameras, graphics, replays and rolling commercials and opens,” Hames said.
Jumping into this new division has challenged the students involved. For most of them, this is their first time working with the new equipment and technology, and working for a broadcasting team in general.
“I have never produced live sports, I have always been a sports journalist, writing for the newspaper,” Mabry said. “I did this to widen my horizons, because I want more experience for after I graduate.”
The division and the new technology have also advanced the capabilities of what Viking Fusion can do, and what it hopes to do in the future.
“For Fusion it’s a new energy, a new division, a new frontier for us,” Hames said. “It’s something we have done and have been wanting to do and increase.”
As the division progresses, Mabry hopes that they keep moving forward with not only growing viewership, but also expanding the amount of sports they cover.
“I see the program growing, and I hope more viewers start tuning in,” Mabry said. “I also see it expanding to different sports, past the four that we are going to do this year.”
To follow along with the broadcasts visit berryvikings.com. The division plans to broadcast about 20-25 home games this season with a mix of football, volleyball, softball and men’s and women’s basketball games.