The University of Oklahoma (www.OU.edu) is a coeducational public research university location in Norman, Oklahoma. The school’s Athletic Department, under the team name The Sooners, operates 17 different sports programs throughout each school year. The department’s Multimedia and Production arm produces television and online video content for the department, in the forms of live games and game-related programming.
The video team at The University of Oklahoma produces 1,500 hours of programming per year, covering tier 1 and tier 2 Sooner sports on several Fox Sports stations. Some Sooner games are broadcast on ESPN. In addition, the team broadcasts 110 tier 3 games online every year, and a variety of pre-game and post-game shows, commentary, and special event coverage.
OU’s Athletics Department video team’s goal is to leverage live video programming to promote all sports at the University, by providing extensive coverage of games and athletics-related events, for the benefit of the student body, athletes, parents, alumni, recruiters, the local community, and all other constituents of the University. The production team is faced with the ongoing challenge of capturing all of the University’s sporting events, in many cases from venues that lack uplink connectivity, for example track and field venues, gyms, and more. Also, during Away games, obtaining uplink at other schools and remote venues can be challenging. Finally, the department was looking for new locations to produce some of its sports news and commentary programming from different locations around Norman, for example from restaurants and other places, rather than in-studio shows, at all times.
The Athletics Department’s production arm began utilizing LiveU’s LU60 units to allow live video transmission from anywhere, without the need for expensive satellite trucks or installing fiber connections at all venues. LiveU technology bonds together multiple 4G LTE, 3G connections across all public cellular carriers, as well as other data connections such as WiFi and Ethernet, thereby allowing broadcast-quality video transmission from anywhere, at a fraction of the cost of traditional uplink. OU has recently added the LiveU Xtender external antenna, which increases cellular bandwidth and range in highly congested and remote venues.
- The Athletics Department’s Multimedia Broadcast and Production arm was able, for the first time, to cover all 17 Athletic Fields live, even in places where it previously had no uplink available, such as track and field, gymnastics, crew, and more. Some competitions were shown on TV, while others were streamed online on Cinesport.tv.
- The department was able for the first time to produce sports commentary shows several times a week from popular locations around town, including various restaurants.
- The low cost and reliability of the LiveU unit enabled The University of Oklahoma video team to stream certain games and competitions online that were not sold to ESPN or Fox.
- In one case, during a basketball game, the team had a satellite feed going to Fox and a simultaneous LiveU feed going back to the OU studio for a replay on OU’s local channel, to be used anytime that the network cut away from the game.
- During signing day 2012, OU had 125,000 unique viewers for its online feed, highlighting viewer’ appetite for additional content beyond mainstream games.
As part of its video coverage strategy, which included adoption of LiveU technology, The University of Oklahoma has created an efficient, flexible and budget-conscious multi-media broadcast operation that provides constituents of the University with timely, well-rounded, and comprehensive sports coverage.
"LiveU has enabled us to easily and reliably go live from places we couldn’t have in the past, and allowed us to provide live coverage for the first time of many sports, in a way that seamlessly integrates with our existing video partners and workflows” said Brandon Meier, OU. “We look forward to even better performance from highly congested or remote venues with the new Xtender external antenna.“
"At-Home Production allows us to film certain sports like track and field and away games that may not typically be covered by broadcasters.
We recently produced a live golf broadcast using eight LiveU backpacks, traveling with the team around the 18 holes. Without this technology, it would be impossible to produce these events from a cost and infrastructure standpoint.” (Brandon Meier, Broadcast Operations Director, The University of Oklahoma)