Thursday, November 15, 2018

The H.G. Levine Broadcast Center

TigerBlog starts today by wishing the men's soccer team good luck tonight at Michigan in the opening round of the NCAA tournament.

He also wants to congratulate Kevin O'Toole on being named the Ivy League Player of the Year. O'Toole, a sophomore, came back from injury to either score or assist on more than half of Princeton's goals during its run to the league championship.

TB has always said he won't feel old until there is a Princeton athlete who has a parent whom TB covered here back when he or she was an athlete. It's coming true this year, as men's lacrosse freshman Jack Crockett is the son of former Princeton football player Todd Crockett, whom TB wrote about while he was still in the newspaper business.

At least that loophole can keep him younger for awhile, since there still hasn't been an athlete here whose parent was here after TB was first a Princeton employee.

Kevin O'Toole is in his own category. Kevin's mother Nancy went to high school with TigerBlog (well, she was a few years behind him, but they were there at the same time at one point). Nancy herself was a soccer star, first in high school and later at William & Mary.

This makes Kevin the only Princeton athlete ever who had a parent who went to high school with TigerBlog.

The field hockey team doesn't play in the NCAA semifinals until tomorrow. The cross country championships are Saturday.

What do all of these events have in common, beyond just high stakes? None of them are being televised, and all of them are able to be watched. The men's soccer game, for instance, starts at 7 and can be seen HERE.

The days have long since passed when a television network needed to come in and produce an event for it to be viewable. These days, there's just an assumption that if a game is being played, it can be seen online somewhere.

Princeton's ability to provide that service to its fans is about to skyrocket, and it's because of a gift from Steven Mayer of the Class of 1981. Because of Steve's generosity, Princeton will be building the H.G. Levine Broadcast Center, which will, among other things, have a spot for podcasting.

The Levine Broadcast Center will become the home of Princeton's production and multimedia efforts. It will be a dedicated spot in Jadwin Gym that will transform into a center with a studio, two broadcast centers and an editing area.

From the release:

The broadcast center will be located in Jadwin Gym and will feature a studio for live and on-demand content, two broadcast control rooms and an editing station. The center will be connected via fiber to Princeton Stadium and to most of Princeton’s other athletic venues through the existing IP network, greatly enhancing the live and in-venue production capabilities from multiple sites. In addition, these productions will be network quality, enabling them to be transmitted to and then aired on all ESPN platforms, including Princeton’s digital partner ESPN+ as well as ESPN linear networks, and on select regional sports networks. 

In addition to live game productions, Princeton will also be able to greatly expand the quality of its creative and on-demand content. The broadcast studio, the first in the Ivy League, will include two sets, a news desk and also a sit-down interview area, along with a green screen for video and still images. The news desk will be portable, which will allow for game-day programming directly from the venues themselves, such as courtside at basketball.

The Levine Broadcast Center will also be the control room for the brand-new videoboard that debuts during the 2018-19 basketball season in Jadwin Gym.

This will be a huge addition to Princeton Athletics.

TigerBlog loves to do the podcasts he does, but his current podcast studio is actually just his office down on E level of Jadwin. It's pretty low-frills, with two mics and his laptop, which he plugs into a mixer. To sound proof the room, TB puts his phone on mute, turns off the fan on his desk and takes his office phone off the hook.

TigerBlog and his colleague John Bullis were filming a video Tuesday in advance of the coming Tiger Athletics Give Day (that would be Tuesday, Nov. 27, with much more on that to come in the next two weeks). To do this, TB had to reserve the Zanfrini Room and then Bullis had to carry a bunch of equipment up to C level and set it all up. When they were done, he had to take it all down and bring it back downstairs. For sound proofing, he had to hope that the squash players and fencers didn't make too much noise.

Ah, but this should be changing soon,

And a lot more.

From an Athletic Communications standpoint, it's all about storytelling, and this will enable Princeton to do that in a much more efficient, much higher quality manner.

This, of course, translates directly to student-athlete experience, which is what this is all about. To that end, Steve Mayer deserves a very big thank you.

Construction will be beginning soon, and it should be completed in the late spring. It'll be up and running for the 2019-20 academic year.

TigerBlog can't wait to see it and to see the impact it has.

Princeton, as TB always says, breeds a strong level of loyalty, with alums like Steve Mayer who want to give back and ensure that the current and future generations who compete here have the best opportunities that they can. None of this stuff happens accidentally.

It's just another sign that Princeton is a very, very special place. 

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