Castleton University is moving on from Northeast Sports Network to become more independent in its streaming opportunities.
Castleton’s athletic programs recently changed conferences, moving from the North Atlantic Conference to the Little East Conference. With this transition came new opportunities for the university to stream events through the Little East’s streaming provider, Stretch Internet.
The Northeast Sports Network has been partners with Castleton University for about a decade and when NSN started broadcasting games, they were one of the best broadcasting groups out there, said Jeff Weld, dean of Advancements.
“They come in and do full productions and really have the high quality that we were looking for,” Weld said.
As time has gone on, more companies have caught up and become much better with broadcasting. This has taken the upper hand away from NSN, Weld said.
With the contract between CU and the Northeast Sports Network coming to an end and the Little East Conference requiring that games are produced through Stretch Internet, university officials needed to evaluate if it is possible to produce these broadcasts in house.
“There are certainly advantages to going with a third party, but one of the major advantages I see of doing it in-house is student opportunity,” Weld said.
Additionally, producing broadcasts in-house will save the university money.
Weld said that all money saved is going directly into the program to make improvements to technology, add equipment, pay talent such as Jack Healey, pay work study students and pay for the use of Stretch Internet.
But the connection between Northeast Sports Network and Castleton will not totally be cut off, NSN will continue to help out when there are multiple events happening at the same time.
“NSN is able to take on games as needed … When we have two events happening at the same time, we can’t man both of them, NSN will come in cover one of the events, and that is super helpful,” said Thomas Blake, director of Sports Information.
One of the concerns with producing broadcasts in-house was network and equipment reliability. Blake said that Jonathan Czar, from the IT Department, has worked tirelessly to make sure that all networks are able to handle the level of demand needed to stream at a high quality.
Blake, new to Castleton this year, is familiar with how Stretch Internet operates, so his transition to Castleton during this streaming platform change assisted the university.
“It was a simple transition. I self-produced streams at Lynn University…I’ve worked with Wirecast and Stretch Internet before,” said Blake.
Stretch Internet will also allow for the university to stream more than just sports. Both Blake and Weld said that as long as they have the equipment and crew, they can cover other events like concerts, banquets, induction ceremonies and plays.
All of these can be covered on the Castleton Stretch Internet portal, and there is no limitation to how many streams are produced.
The overarching selling point to this change is student involvement. The use of Stretch includes everyone from video production students to just everyday work study students, not to mention valuable experience when producing quality streams that are seen, Weld said.
Allison Chadwick, the freshman goalie on the women’s soccer team, said that her dad loves the streaming Castleton provides.
“He has always loved to follow my progress, and the streams of the game allows for him to watch when he’s not able to attend,” Chadwick said.
She continued to say, “He has said numerous times that out of all the colleges that stream games, Castleton is one of the best. Between the commentary (from Jack Healey) and the quality of the stream”
Although NSN and Castleton will not be working full time together, both Blake and Weld said that they are extremely grateful for what NSN has done for Castleton University.