Streaming video service lets UWRF sports fans see games from a distance

Posted May 3, 2017

Prior to this year, fans of UW-River Falls athletics had to be at the games to see all of the action. With a new all-access video service, that’s not the case anymore.

Through the company SideArm Sports, UWRF is now able to live stream some of its athletic events and broadcast them to audiences who can’t attend the games on campus. SideArm, based in Syracuse, New York, works with hundreds of colleges across the country to provide a channel for sports broadcasts to audiences away from their favorite school.

UWRF is among eight schools in Wisconsin that use the technology, including fellow Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) members La Crosse, Stevens Point, Stout and Whitewater.

In fact, UWRF has the exact same setup for its video stream as the University of Florida, which is a Division I school that is also regularly on national television for multiple sports. However, due to broadcasting rights Florida isn’t able to use the network video for its website so that’s why it has SideArm.

UWRF athletics intern Trenten Gauthier has worked closely with the new technology.

“We can upload our live streams post-game to the story so you can go back and watch the game or if something you missed,” Gauthier said. “It’s very convenient for people that didn’t get a chance or they have kids that play for various teams.”

The only disadvantage to the video stream up to this point is that it doesn’t cover all of the sports at UWRF.

“Sports that don’t have live stream, for instance tennis and golf, they don’t have all access video,” Gauthier said.

With some sports, it just doesn’t make sense to have a live stream available because it’s either difficult to place a camera in that venue or, in the case of golf, there are too many places that a camera would be needed.

The all-access video is free for anyone who wants to use it and there are multiple ways to get to the video. The athletics website at UWRF provides links to each game’s live stream on the respective team’s schedule.

The clarity of the video stream isn’t always crystal clear, but with free access to games no one has complained.

“The quality is not going to be 100 percent 1080p, it’s I believe at 720p so not perfect video,” Gauthier said.

Anyone with internet access is able to watch the live streams or the all-access video. It’s accessible on any digital device.

Posting the video to the game stories after the contests has in essence created a video archive for athletics at UWRF.

The athletics department at UWRF would like to add staff to broadcast the games that are live-streamed. In the past, the video stream has been hooked up to WRFW radio broadcasts but never on a consistent basis. It would make the stream more interesting and help viewers to better comprehend the action.

Along with adding a person, the athletics department would eventually like to be able to have multiple camera angles at the events it live streams, according to Gauthier. Some schools in the WIAC have the advantage of multiple cameras, including UW-Stevens Point.