Viking Fusion sports division coming to an end

Carson Bonner, Campus Carrier news editor

After almost 15 years of covering Berry College Sports, Viking Fusion will be closing their sports division, due to expensive technical malfunctions and a lack of funding. According to the athletics department, their work has been invaluable and as they’ve ensured live broadcasting coverage of athletic games for three sports over the last four years. 

This year, Viking Fusion has broadcasted football, soccer and lacrosse games, with lacrosse being a first for Fusion. Unfortunately, broadcasting issues, technology malfunctions and problems with their in-ear mic communication technology led to a need for upgrades in equipment. Adding up all of the filming equipment, the cost would be tens of thousands of dollars, not including any sound and communication equipment that they would need to purchase in order to be compatible with the new cameras. 

“We started adding up how much we would need to spend to replace all of the equipment,” Viking Fusion advisor Steven Hames said. “At first it was a couple cameras, then new communication tech, then everything else started needing replaced, and once we finished adding, we knew it wouldn’t be feasible with our current funding.” 

For Viking Fusion Sports Director Bryce Robinson, working in sports was a semester-long period of growth. Robinson stepped up as sports director after being a news reporter for a semester, and according to her, it was a very interesting experience. 

“It was so fun getting to work with the whole team in a sports setting,” Robinson said. “Everyone really contributes because it’s not a one-person job when you’re broadcasting. We would have people filming, doing replays, putting up graphics. It was a team job and was an amazing experience for me.” 

According to Robinson, part of the issue was that existing equipment being used by Fusion was discontinued, so when it came time for them to be replaced after consistent malfunctioning, a more expensive alternative was needed. 

“We have these tools that let me talk to each person using a camera so there’s clear communication for who is filming what at a given time,” Robinson said. “When those weren’t working, it really complicated things and made it hard to do the broadcasts. We also had incidents where cameras would go black-and-white for no reason, so when all that would happen, it was really frustrating.” 

According to Athletics Director Angel Mason, having Viking Fusion collaborate with the Athletic Department has been helpful in getting people involved with Berry’s sports and maintaining communication between spectators and teams. 

“They do a fantastic job of getting really detailed broadcasting for the games they attend,” Mason said. “[The athletic department] doesn’t have the capability and the equipment for the level of broadcasting they do and it is extraordinary the work that they do. It’s very sad that we likely won’t be able to have that partnership anymore.” 

According to Mason, Viking Fusion Sports has been an integral part of sports communication for Berry College sports spectators and she is incredibly grateful for and impressed by their work. 

“Obviously, I wish the program could continue and it’s horribly unfortunate that it can’t,” Mason said. “It’s been wonderful getting so many people engaged and involved both in the program and in athletics and I’m so appreciative for all of their work.” 

In the last several years, the partnership has expanded to cover all sports, with nearly every game being broadcasted. 

“The sad thing is that the broadcasts for the last two games were nearly perfect,” Viking Fusion Executive Director Parker Luellen said. “We had problems with equipment and cameras in particular at the beginning of the semester, but the last two games were almost perfect. In a way it gives us hope that maybe Fusion Sports will be able to continue, but we really just don’t know right now.” 

According to Hames, the continuation of Viking Fusion sports would be able to continue if more funding were allocated to the department. 

“We aren’t actively seeking more funding,” Hames said. “If someone decides to give us more so we’d be able to have this part of the program be active, then great, but we aren’t requesting more funds. At this point, the equipment upgrades we would need are too expensive to be feasible. I discussed the funding needed with our department and they were surprised, shocked really, just because it’s so much more than anyone could have expected.” 

Leave a Reply