College Sports in the Realm of Bonesville
Tuesday, August 2, 2005
Publisher & Editor
“Total Access” is totally
East Carolina’s recent announcement of its
subscription-based multimedia partnership with College Sports Television
spawned a boatload of feedback, much of it uninformed or
missing the point.
After three years of paying the freight and
providing the technology to distribute the Internet live stream of East
Carolina’s sporting events and coaches’ shows, we feel particularly
qualified to issue an opinion about the new arrangement.
Our verdict is an enthusiastic thumbs up.
The “Total Access” package that will be
available to Pirate fans is worth the announced
price of $44.95 per year ($4.95 per month). It’s a cutting-edge,
all-encompassing, first-class service that has been embraced by dozens of
college athletic programs around the country.
More importantly, the partnership with CSTV
offers ECU the opportunity to generate new revenues without having to
shoulder the entire burden of the costs and logistical headaches it would
face if it provided the service on its own.
The input I have received from some
readers (and for that matter, some media members) seems to be driven by the
mistaken impression that the Webcasts should continue to be free, as they
have been during the span during which Bonesville.net has provided the
Let me be the first to inform you that the
“no-charge” live stream you have enjoyed during the last three years was an
anomaly dictated by circumstances that no longer exist.
Now, to offer some perspective and clear up
1. Out of what might best be described as a
sense of patriotic Pirate duty, Bonesville.net stepped forward in 2002 to
underwrite the live stream of ECU’s play-by-play broadcasts when it became
apparent that there would otherwise be no live stream. We took that step and
assumed the financial commitment that went with it when the athletic
department’s administration at the time signaled its intention to
discontinue the streaming service it had offered previously in an
arrangement that involved Capital Broadcasting and Broadcast.com.
2. To fill the gap, we established an
arrangement with WCZI-FM 98.3, then the Pirates’ flagship station, to
provide the required equipment and pay the network fees to have the
station’s local programming and game broadcasts sent out over the World Wide
Web. In subsequent years, we put together similar working relationships with
WCZI’s successors, WGHB-AM 1250 and WNCT-AM 1070.
3. Contrary to the assumptions of many, Bonesville.net has paid 100% of the costs involved in streaming
ECU’s broadcasts since 2002. The stations we have partnered with have merely
used equipment and network distribution facilities provided by
Bonesville.net to simulcast their standard audio feeds over the Web.
4. It has been an expensive undertaking but
one that we believe was important for someone to carry out, especially for
the benefit of the many fans that live outside the listening range of the
Pirates’ conventional radio network. Now that ECU’s new administration has
put itself in a position to provide the service and boost the athletic
department’s bottom line at the same time, we can relinquish the role with
5. We fully endorse the “Total Access”
package and we urge potential
subscribers to try it before criticizing it. From direct experience with the
infrastructure and logistics involved in distributing multimedia, and based
on our own personal use of such services in the past to listen to college
sports broadcasts, we can affirm that the proposed subscription fee is a
6. We plan to remain entrenched in the
Webcast business in a consequential manner, offering in cooperation with one or
more partner stations exclusive live streams and on-demand playbacks of
independently-produced sports programming that won't be available in ECU's
“Total Access” package, including game day coverage, a number of popular
weekday/weeknight radio shows — and some exciting new programs.
Bottom line: The multimedia agreement with
CSTV is a sign that East Carolina is taking a step forward in an age when the Web and
more traditional mediums are steadily converging to expand the reach of both
broadcast and print content. ECU's new streaming arrangement should be
viewed by the target audience — Pirate fans — as a welcome indication that
ECU's athletics administration has seized the opportunity to leverage the Internet for the purpose
of affordably and profitably delivering entertainment to fans.
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02/23/2007 01:38:03 AM