December 4, 2007
I remember a time not that long ago in Georgetown athletics when the only audio-visual equipment available within the department consisted of a single reel-to-reel video camera. It was primitive by today's standards, but videotape was a great advance for athletics because game or practice footage didn't need to be developed like film and it could be reviewed instantly.
Of course, this technology was available only to the coaches (mostly basketball) and not viewable by fans or the general public. So if you wanted to see the Hoyas in action, you had one choice: attend the games.
It wasn't long, however, before video cassettes (beta, VHS) became the norm and soon after, all coaches were taping games for review with their own team or for exchange with opponents for scouting purposes. With cable TV subscriptions booming and ESPN hungry for sports content, the prospects for expanded distribution of college sports video looked bright.
It was about this time that then-athletic director Frank Rienzo began to talk about a day in the future when colleges would be able to sell season tickets and game-day tickets to athletic contests which would be shown on pay-per-view cable TV.
Well, Frank, you were right. Some 20+ years later, we are just about there. The cable networks, which once offered great promise for this concept, turned out to be almost as stodgy and slow to adapt as their forebears, the broadcast networks. However, the internet came along in time to help democratize this (r)evolution of content distribution.
Here on the Hilltop, Georgetown athletics works with College Sports Television (CSTV) to provide a range of internet services which now include hosting of the official Hoya website, online sales of game tickets, Hoya gear, and yes, live video feeds of games as well as on-demand feeds of past games.
Cable and broadcast coverage takes most of the current men's basketball games out of the available line-up on the live internet package. That still leaves all the home contests for women's hoops, men's and women's lacrosse, volleyball, football, and men's and women's soccer. They are all available on All-Access, the name CSTV gives to its streaming video service for Hoya games. And if you just need more Hoya hoops, archived games of men's games are available as well.
Hoya fans can subscribe for the entire year for all available games, or on a month-by-month basis, or on a game-by-game basis.
For younger Hoya fans, perhaps this development is something expected, even taken for granted. For someone like me, it is nothing short of astounding. And in another generation from now, the coverage and quality will be even better.
I can't wait.