High school football is a big deal in Ohio. A really big deal.

So when Cincinnati's La Salle Lancers, the reigning Ohio state champs, made it back to the finals in 2015, people were watching.

More than 11,100 people piled into Ohio Stadium in Columbus to watch the Lancers crush the Massillon Perry Panthers 42-0, marking the first time since the 1992-93 season that a division II team won back-to-back titles.

If this were a normal game without certain OHSAA broadcasting regulations, those 11,100 people wouldn’t have been the only ones with their eyes on the game. In recent years, La Salle has expanded the reach of its program by live video streaming its games to alumni, parents, students and fans across the world.

La Salle Lancers prep to rush the field

HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL: A SERIOUS BUSINESS

In the four games they streamed online this year, La Salle had 1,635 viewers tune in. That’s an average of 408 viewers per game. And that number doesn’t even count the multiple viewers that could be huddled around one screen.

Though building school spirit and fueling alumni pride play a huge role in any school’s decision to stream, the decision to broadcast isn’t always entirely selfless. In the fall of 2015 alone, La Salle took in more than $2,400 in gross online ticket sales.

How?

La Salle teamed up with BoxCast, a live video streaming company, to broadcast its home games online. The school opted to charge online viewers a “ticket” price to watch the games in 1080p HD.

Once La Salle set its ticket price, BoxCast handled all the payment and processing and sent the school a check for its earnings.

THE EFFECTS OF STREAMING

The ability to ticket online streams addresses a concern that many athletic directors have about streaming: If I stream my games online, who will be in the stands?

It’s been proven time and time again that streaming actually gets more people in the stands.

When school administrators share that they’re starting to stream games online, people notice. More hype is built around each game, and when online viewers see how much fun the people in the stands are having, chances that they will join them in person for the next game is high.

It’s part of a larger push to boost school pride and give back to the community.

Plus, if a school charges viewers to watch online, it doesn’t have to worry about a fan choosing between paying to watch a game in person or opting to stay on their couch and stream the game for free.

THE IMPORTANCE OF A STRONG NETWORK

For La Salle to be successful streaming broadcasters, it was imperative that they had strong enough internet bandwidth to stream in beautiful HD quality. For good reason, too.

When it comes to watching sports, we’ve all become accustomed to high quality images making us feel as if we’re almost there. And though the level of play is not at the college or NFL level, viewer expectations remain just as high.

Championing these live streaming efforts is live broadcast producer/engineer Doug Grawe who sets up, coordinates, produces and tears down everything involving the live La Salle BoxCast broadcasts.

His efforts have paid off.

The quality of La Salle’s streams are so good that when one game was picked up by a local network and shown on TV for free, many viewers opted to pay for La Salle’s streamed version.

EMBRACING THE ART OF PROMOTION

Still, La Salle could have been playing football on the moon and it wouldn’t have meant anything if people didn’t know about it.

That’s why video play-by-play analyst and La Salle alumnus Jeff Bosse (‘90), says that promotion has been crucial to their success:

“You can have great teams and a great network to bring them HD, but if nobody knows you’re streaming or how to access the game, or if you haven’t conditioned an audience to watch the game, nothing else matters.”

It’s why La Salle promotes the games directly on their website, clearly explaining how much the game costs and how to go about purchasing a ticket. Word spread fast and fans caught on.

Associate Athletic Director Frank Russo knows that if you really want to reach a broad audience, however, you can’t merely expect people to type your URL into their search bars. You have to bring your content to people, meeting them where they already are: social media.

Russo regularly posts live updates to La Salles’ social media accounts, giving fans real-time updates and encouraging them to check out the live-streamed action online.

THE NEXT GENERATION

What makes the La Salle athletic program most impressive, however, is the way it has successfully encouraged a culture of student involvement, not only on the fields, but also behind the scenes.

Take, for example, Drew Greiner (‘17). A self-proclaimed lifetime Lancer ambassador, Greiner knew that he wanted to get involved in La Salle’s contagious athletic atmosphere.

Once Greiner knew he wasn’t going to play football, Russo approached him to see if he’d like to get involved in another way—by using BoxCast to broadcast the games live.

Greiner admits he was apprehensive: “I wasn’t really sure how it was going to go. I like talking sports, but not always in front of a large group of people.”

With adequate support and encouragement, Greiner took on the challenge. Now, he calls 1-2 quarters of every broadcasted game. But Greiner’s not the only student involved in the streams. Other La Salle students run the cameras throughout the game.

La Salle has created an incredible opportunity for its students outside of the classroom: a chance to get behind-the-scenes of a sports broadcast and learn skills that could blossom into a career down the road.

La Salle Lancers celebrate after a victory

BECOMING GREAT

There’s a common theme that runs throughout the La Salle program, and it’s easily discernible to anyone who interacts with a member of their community for a brief amount of time.

The people involved love what they do.

There’s a fire in them and a sense of school pride that motivates them to be the best. It’s what allows for an innovative broadcast program at a stellar academic school with a back-to-back state football championship team.

A drive for greatness.

________________________

About BoxCast

Launched in 2013, BoxCast is inspired by the idea that live video can reach people in a relevant and meaningful way, connecting them to the events they can’t attend. The company has developed a breakthrough streaming platform that makes it easy to deliver live, HD video to anyone, anywhere. It's simple. It's reliable. It's affordable. It's a smarter way to stream.

 

Published by BoxCast Success Team on March 21, 2016 in Success Stories

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