RIO GRANDE, Ohio — University of Rio Grande athletic fans who have become accustomed to following the RedStorm via the internet will once again be able to do just that this fall.
The school has signed a three-year contract with Stretch Internet to provide live streaming of home – and selected road – athletic events involving the men’s and women’s soccer, volleyball, men’s and women’s basketball, baseball and softball programs.
“We’re excited to once again be able to showcase some of our athletic teams via the internet by renewing an old partnership we had with Stretch,” said Rio Grande athletic director Jeff Lanham. “In addition to live video and audio streaming, we’ll also be able to make live stats a part of the broadcast. I think the folks who follow us via the web will be pleased.”
Rio Grande, which had streamed its events in recent seasons through Volar Video, Inc.’s platform of iHigh/Team1Sports, had an earlier partnership with Stretch shortly after the Mesa, Az.-based company was formed in 2003.
The most notable difference for fans will be that the webcasts will no longer be offered free of charge.
The webcasts will be available for purchase at three different levels – $7.95 per game, $24.95 for a single-sport season pass and $89.95 for an all-access pass, which includes every webcast the school produces.
“We weren’t going to be able to provide our fans with free webcasts this season, even if we hadn’t decided to make the change,” Lanham said. “We’re not crazy about the fact that we have to go the pay-per-view route but, unfortunately, just about every other school in the country which produces webcasts of its athletic contests is doing it. We really don’t have a choice.”
However, Lanham added that an effort was made to come up with business plan which was affordable to the customer and beneficial to the individual programs.
“We tried to come up with something that was good for everybody,” he said. “On paper, $89.95 might look like a lot of money for an all-access pass, but when you consider our plan is to do somewhere in the neighborhood of 170 webcasts in the 2015-16 school year, that’s just over 50 cents per game. Even the single-season pass with the fewest number of webcasts comes out to less than $2 per game. No, it’s not free, but it’s very affordable.”
Rio Grande will receive 50 percent of the revenue produced from the pay-per-view purchases. Half of that total will go back to the individual sport, with the remaining portion going toward the maintenance of the equipment needed to produce the webcasts.
The first scheduled broadcast on the new platform is set for Wednesday, Aug. 26, when the RedStorm women’s soccer team entertains Marian (Ind.) University at Evan E. Davis Field.
Randy Payton is the Sports Information Director at the University of Rio Grande.