University of Nebraska Receives SVG/NACDA Technology Leadership Award
After more than two decades, HuskerVision continues to innovate and invest in infrastructure
On Day 1 of the College Sports Summit in Atlanta, SVG and NACDA honored the University of Nebraska with the fourth-annual SVG/NACDA Technology Leadership Award. The award is presented each year to the university athletic department that demonstrates commitment to investment in and implementation of broadcast- and video-infrastructure technologies.
The Technology Leadership Award is presented to the university athletic department that best meets the outlined criteria of investment and execution in broadcast and video technologies. Shot Kleen, assistant athletic director for HuskerVision, University of Nebraska, accepted the award on behalf of the university.
“We have had great support from our administration through the years,” Kleen said. “We have always had a full-time dedicated staff, as well as student staff through the year. The most enjoyable aspect of my job is seeing students work hard and do their job and then go out into the industry and perform well [professionally]. I’d also like to thank the equipment vendors, integrators, and suppliers throughout the years. We’ve made a lot of great friends through those projects.”
The University of Nebraska has long been the standard-bearer when it comes to commitment to video production and investing in a top-notch staff that continues to innovate across all verticals. Today, the university’s HuskerVision division employs 10 full-time employees and 40 paid student workers. The group — overseen by Kleen, Nebraska Athletics Executive Director of Video Production Kirk Hartman, and Senior Associate A.D. of Marketing & Communications David Witty — annually produces more than 70 television shows that run locally and nationally, approximately 100 screen shows/streaming events, as well as providing content for the Huskers’ website, social-media platforms, and mobile applications.
The University of Nebraska installed its first videoboards in 1994, erecting 17-ft.-high x 23-ft.-wide video replay screens from Mitsubishi on the southeast and northwest towers of legendary Memorial Stadium. Playing off Mitsubishi’s popular term for its Major League Baseball videoboards, “DiamondVision,” HuskerVision was born under the direction of the late Jeff Schmahl, a 2015 recipient of the SVG College Pioneer Award.
“Huskervision started in 1994, … The Friday night before our first [football game against UCLA], they decided to have a pep rally to test things out,” Kleen recounted onstage at the ceremony. “I went out there on Friday night, and Keith Jackson was the host, and there were 40,000 people in the stands. I realized this was a pretty big deal. That’s how it all started.”
Over the next 25 years, the athletic department and its administration has continued to demonstrate a tremendous commitment to Huskervision and its ability to innovate in the field of video production.
As more videoboards were installed in venues across Lincoln, including the Bob Devaney Sports Center, Nebraska was one of the first in the industry to connect its venues via a fiber-optic network, doing so in 1999, and turning its control room inside Memorial Stadium into a centralized production facility that could serve multiple screens anywhere on campus.
In 2009, the university invested more than $4 million to take Memorial Stadium into the era of high definition. With new videoboards and a control-room overhaul done in partnership with Alpha Video Sports and Entertainment, HuskerVision became home to one of the first fully HD production facilities of any kind in the Midwest.
Aside from its tremendous in-venue work, HuskerVision was also among the pioneers in digital- and social-video distribution. In 2011, Kelly Mosier was moved from the HuskerVision team to oversee the Huskers online presence as director of Huskers.com. There he began creating exclusive content for the website and made Nebraska one of the first athletic departments in college sports to dedicate resources to creating social- and digital-first content. Today, Mosier is assistant athletic director for creative and emerging media and oversees five full-time staff members and a number of students who create graphic design and video content for social media, Huskers.com, and various print materials.
The Huskers opened the doors of a new arena in the downtown Haymarket area of Lincoln for its men’s and women’s basketball teams, Pinnacle Bank Arena, in 2013. In addition to a center-hung scoreboard and ribbon boards, the venue features a “pass-through” control room that links to HuskerVision’s main control room via fiber and an IPTV network.
In 2014, the athletic department invested more than $12 million in technology to improve the fan experience at Memorial Stadium: it installed an extensive Wi-Fi system and upgraded phone and internet services in the building. The same year, a second control room was added in Memorial Stadium, allowing HuskerVision to produce exclusive content for its Wi-Fi and IPTV networks. As part of the upgrade, Nebraska became the first entity in North America to deploy EVS’s XT3 media-production server and the C-Cast connected content platform, a central cloud-based platform that enabled HuskerVision to aggregate content, enrich it, and instantly deliver it to any platform.
And Nebraska’s innovative spirit lives on: all the video screens in Memorial Stadium will be upgraded this summer. In addition, the department plans to incorporate the ability for fans to view closed captioning on smartphone devices through the stadium’s Wi-Fi network.
To view the criteria used to select the SVG/NACDA Technology Leadership Award recipients, CLICK HERE.
SVG/NACDA Technology Leadership Award Recipients
2017 – University of Nebraska
2016 – University of Alabama
2015 – Brigham Young University
2014 – University of Oklahoma
2013 – University of Notre Dame