UMass To Produce 100 Sports Events for WSHM Springfield

CBS affiliate WSHM Springfield, MA, will carry 100 UMass sports events produced by the University of Massachusetts Athletic Department for the station’s digital multicast service during the 2010-11 season.

“They were thrilled to be our partner,” says Jason Yellin, associate athletic director, media relations, for the university. “This is a perfect match.”

The productions will be overseen by Video Production Assistant Sean McCluskey and Manager of Broadcast Properties Josh Maurer. The Voice of the Minutemen, Maurer also calls UMass events for radio, and, in some instances, his radio call will provide the commentary for the games.

“We’ve been doing streaming for five years, beginning with one camera,” says Yellin. “Last year, we went deeper for sports like lacrosse and softball.”

Most of the events will be shot with three Canon GL2 cameras, and some will get the five-camera treatment. A Newtek Tricaster will be on hand to mix the camera feeds and insert graphics and advertising. Telestream’s Wirecast system will transport the signal to WSHM using Real Time Streaming Protocol (RTSP).

“We put the feed up through an IP address, and it arrives at the station in Springfield,” says Yellin. “It looks unbelievable although it isn’t HD.”

The games will also pass through a Flash encoder for Internet distribution via CBS College Sports All-Access feed.

The production teams are made up primarily of students, typically studying journalism or sports management, as well as the media-relations staff. Students are taught the basics before heading out to their first assignment.

“We try to get as many people involved with the productions as we can,” says Yellin.

The games can be seen on Comcast Digital Cable channel 293 in Western Massachusetts and will soon be available on both Charter and Time Warner cable systems. CBS 3 Now will show games for all UMass teams from football, basketball, and hockey to soccer, field hockey, and lacrosse. CBS 3 Now, formerly known as CBS 3 Weather Now, was recently rebranded.

“Public reaction to the UMass shows on CBS 3 has been terrific these past two years,” says CBS 3 Springfield Station Manager John Hesslein. “Broadcasting these live sporting events is just a natural next step in what is a very strong partnership between CBS 3 and UMass. We listened to the fans, and together we found a way to being these games to everyone.”

The 100 games are slated to start this Friday with UMass field hockey opening its season against rival Boston College at 2 p.m. Maurer will call the action, with UMass Hall of Famer Pam Hixon on the color commentary. Sunday’s field-hockey game vs. Indiana is also scheduled for CBS 3 Now, also starting at 2 p.m.

The UMass games broadcast on CBS 3 Now will not conflict with existing television agreements, such as CAA Football’s with Comcast SportsNet, the Atlantic 10’s with CBS College Sports and ESPN, and Hockey East’s with NESN.

The first women’s soccer game, vs. Vermont, is set for Sept. 3 at 4 p.m.; the first men’s soccer contest, against Harvard, will take place on Sept. 6 .

The first of three football games to air on CBS 3 Now is the Sept. 11 game vs. Holy Cross at 6 p.m. Also set to air on  CBS 3 Now are the Oct. 16 homecoming game vs. Richmond at 3:30 p.m. and the Nov. 13 tilt vs. Delaware at 1 p.m.

UMass hockey will start with the Oct. 22 game vs. Boston University. Men’s and women’s basketball games will start airing in November.

A complete schedule of games that will air on CBS 3 Now will be available on UMassAthletics.com and on CBS3Springfield.com.