Athletics department to stream sports games

Spearheaded by new athletic director Jason Kelly, the athletics department will livestream home sports games throughout the 2013-2014 school year. The department will first stream football games, beginning with the football home opener against Loyola Aug. 30.

Kelly, who was hired to replace Vince Orlando as Athletic Director July 2, instituted a similar program as Head of Athletics at Milken and Stephen S. Wise Schools, where he previously worked for 18 years. “HWTV,” as the streaming service will be dubbed, will be streamed with two cameras on and will include features such as instant replay, on-screen scoreboard and other on-screen graphics. The athletics department will assess the football game broadcasts before expanding to other sports.

“We’re going to start with a manageable pilot program and see how far we can get,” Kelly said. “I think, based upon the experiences of work that I’ve done previously, that live streaming became extremely popular for a number of reasons: one of them is that coaches love to get footage of game film, to watch that again is very valuable for the coaches. Secondly, it provided an opportunity for students to engage in an extremely innovative type of educational format where, a number of students who are interested in broadcasting or potential television or film work, I gave them an opportunity to work behind the scenes, in front of the camera, post-production, pre-production, of a live broadcast. And that was very exciting, and a lot of our students at my previous school are interested in continuing that in college. Thirdly, it became very popular with our parents, grandparents and our alumni who can’t make the games.”

Kelly said the new network will be focused on and fueled by the student body.

“I’d like to use as many Harvard-Westlake people as possible,” he said. “My goal is to have a very student-centric program. We’re really interested in creating a team of students interested in broadcasting, both behind the scenes and in front of the camera.”

Five to six students will work on graphics, editing and commentating for HWTV. As members of the program, students will also engage in pre-production and post-production meetings. Games will be broadcast live on the Harvard-Westlake Athletics website, and the entire broadcast will be made available on the Harvard-Westlake athletics website and the new Harvard-Westlake Athletics Facebook Page, which Kelly also led in developing soon after being hired.

The ultimate goal for the broadcasting service is to stream all sports’ home games as consistently as possible, using three cameras with the student team working as editors, commentators and sideline reporters.

“Week by week, you get a little bit better at it,” Kelly said. “The students and faculty involved get a little more experienced, and as you gain the experience, you become a little more adventurous.”

Kelly was considering bringing in outside advisers he’s previously worked with, but said he’ll be looking among current Harvard-Westlake faculty first.
The athletics department was still looking for students to be a part of the program as of press time.

“We’re looking for both kids who want to be reporters, and kids who are interested in camera work and editing work,” Kelly said. “Hopefully we have the bodies and the interest at Harvard-Westlake.”