Close to 500,000 students play high school baseball today on Junior Varsity (JV) and Varsity teams. It’s still one of the most popular sports in the country, and fans are voracious for content and follow the game closely at all levels.
If you’re interested in showcasing a local high school team to a larger audience, you can accomplish that by learning how to broadcast the games.
Follow these tips for successful sports streams.
Cover Your Legal Bases and Know the Rules
Remember that sports leagues at all levels are covered under legalities and rules that dictate how you can broadcast games. Learning the ins and outs of these issues will protect you from lawsuits.
Some of the legal and procedural things you’ll need to know include:
Consider Existing Broadcast Rights
Since it’s your high school, you might assume that you have free reign to cover the games. However, your high school league may have broadcasting deals with local TV and radio stations.
City, town, or county-wide stations might also have the rights to broadcast certain games.
If the teams are ranked nationally or feature coveted prospects, outlets like ESPN may even pick up certain games. Find out in advance whether anyone has exclusive rights to the games that might prevent you from broadcasting them.
Clear the Coverage With the School System
Keep in mind that you’re mostly dealing with minors whenever you cover high school sports. So there is a certain level of sensitivity that comes with the territory, and players have a right to privacy in certain situations.
Some school districts may require you to secure paperwork that allows the student’s image to be published when participating in school events.
Learn Where and How You Can Record
Your high school league might also have certain rules and bylaws related to where you can physically situate yourself to record. Most games take place on school property, so you’ll need to play by their rules when filming.
These limitations might also dictate what kind of crew you can put together and what equipment to use.
Study Baseball Broadcasts
Watching sports and filming them are two different things. There’s a lot that goes into broadcasting a game. Take the time to watch broadcast baseball games so you can study which camera angles they use and other key details. With professional baseball playing 162 games in a season, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to watch and get a feel for how they handle their broadcasts.Some research will help ensure that it’s enjoyable to viewers and they don’t miss an important play.
Understand the Game
Your broadcasts will always be better when you have a solid and thorough understanding of the sport. You’ll get the right shots and provide context that fans will appreciate.
Learn the game of baseball in as much detail as possible so that your broadcasts are informed and accurate. This means both knowing baseball as a whole and the specific rules for your high school game league.
For instance, high school games are seven innings rather than nine innings. They also have a mercy rule and allow you to assign a designated runner for the pitcher and catcher.
Make sure that you also understand the landscape of the district, region, and state, since advancing in each is what every program is vying for. You’ll be able add context to what’s happening with other teams in the conference or district and how this plays a role in future matchups and playoff implications.
Above all, remain a student of the game so you can teach your viewers something with each and every broadcast.
Assemble Your Talent and Crew
You will need the right team to make sure that your broadcasts are handled optimally. Assemble a film crew that can capture all of the shots and ensure that viewers don’t miss any of the action.
You’ll need a team of people that can provide commentary and play-by-play. They will need to research both teams’ rosters and how their seasons are going prior to the current matchup.
You may choose to hire the help of professionals to record and stream your games.
This can also be a good opportunity to recruit student volunteers to get some broadcast journalism experience.
Get a Software Platform That Fits Your Need
Today’s digital platforms come with all of the elements that you used to need an entire studio for.
You’ll be able to handle everything from mixing and cutting different scenes to editing broadcasts and enriching the audio. Invest in a software platform that is professional quality and up-to-date so that you can put together broadcasts that are neat, organized, and tell a cohesive story from start to finish.
Decide How You Want to Broadcast Your Games
Some broadcasters will stream the games live and archive them for viewing, while others will not make them available to the public.
You could also skip the live broadcast and choose to record the games, edit them, and then post them later.
Consider which site you want to publish the game to and learn all about their capabilities and the different packages they offer.
Find a Quality Streaming and Hosting Service
Make sure that you also have a place to host your data, raw video, audio files, and any other components that you capture from your high school baseball games. Determine which sites and services will give you the best deal, security, performance, and ability to scale your options.
Consider what you need in terms of resolution so that the broadcast is crystal clear on numerous devices.
Market Your Broadcasts
Once you have come up with the best arrangement for your games, take the time to drive traffic to your broadcasts. Learn as much as you can about Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and connect with social media communities that care about local baseball and other high school sports.
Use every avenue at your disposal so that you can build an engaged audience that will watch your games.
Get Your Team Involved in the Broadcast
Speak to the coaches ahead of time to build a rapport. Let them know you’re broadcasting the game and ask for time to interview them and other players for background research.
You can then give post-game interviews of players who performed well during the game. Players who are being scouted and coaches who want to bring more recognition to their programs are likely to be open to your media time.
Always Upgrade Your Gear and Setup
Finally, make sure that you’re always making improvements to your gear, software, and other parts of your setup. You’ll need to buy new cameras, lighting, and audio equipment, and find new and different ways to improve the broadcast.
Start small and keep scaling up.
Broadcast High School Baseball Games
If you want to give your high school athletes a bigger platform to showcase their talents, WSN Live can help. Schedule a call with us by using our online form or call us at 844-WSN-LIVE.