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Falcon sports streaming on Web

October 12, 2007

Parents and fans of Falcon athletics can now watch live streaming broadcasts of games, available from a company called Penn Atlantic that is contracted by UW-River Falls.

Penn Atlantic is an independent company that provides video for games in most major college conferences.

The service, brand new this year at UWRF, was set up by Instructional Program Manager Nick Dangeur of Information Technology Services.

The direction of technology in general affected the decision to add the service.

“This is just where athletics are going,” Athletic Director Rick Bowen said. T

he video is not played on the UWRF Web site, but instead is available on Penn Atlantic’s site.

“[Penn Atlantic] provided us with an encoding computer and we ship it through that computer,” Dangeur said.

The play-by-play from 88.7 FM WRFW is also broadcast and played in synch with the video.

Penn Atlantic’s Web site states that a crowd microphone is used if no play-by-play commentary is available.

Each game costs $5.95, and UWRF receives about half of the proceeds.

“We hope in time this could turn into a decent revenue stream, but right now it’s just getting the word out about UWRF,  said Bowen.

The video is not full broadcast quality, but Dangeur said he was “really impressed” with it.

“It looked pretty decent, certainly for $6,” he said. “Eventually it would be nice to put some graphics in there and maybe two cameras.”

The first two football games could not be broadcast because of a contract that the WIAC has with Fox Sports Net, the first game to use the system was against Pacific Lutheran University Sept. 15.

Falcon away games will be available as well, but instead of being in the UWRF section of Penn Atlantic’s Web they will be under the hosting school.

Men’s and women’s basketball and men’s hockey will be available once those seasons start, and Dangeur said he would like to do other sports in the future such as volleyball, women’s softball and maybe even a rodeo. Soccer is also a possibility, but as of right now the field is too far away from available hookups.

The service will not only be used for sports, but also other campus events like commencement.

“Commencement is really an important thing for a family, and a lot of families can’t make it,” Dangeur said. “Families should have that opportunity to see their son or daughter graduate.”

The next scheduled Falcon game to be shown is the Oct. 13 football game vs. UW-Eau Claire at 1 p.m. It can be accessed through the link on the UWRF Athletic Web site or at http://www.pennatlantic.com.