ESPN3 expansion gives students a chance to explore learning potential

The University of Maine is expanding coverage for baseball and softball to ESPN3. The expansion comes after the America East Conference partnered up with ESPN to broadcast all of the conference’s athletic events on an ESPN3 platform. This year is the first year of the contract. The primary focus of the contract is on basketball, with all other sports to come as time goes on.

Over the course of the past fall and winter, UMaine Athletics produced over 25 ESPN3 broadcasts for the University’s men’s and women’s basketball teams. Coverage of the games has allowed more fans to watch their Black Bears play more easily than ever before and has even opened up chances for students with an interest in the production and broadcasting side of the sports world.

The plan is to  produce two baseball and two softball series this coming spring. Baseball will be covered by ESPN3 on April 8-9 against the University of Hartford and the next series will be May 13-14 against UMass Lowell.

Softball dates include April 15-16 facing Stony Brook and May 5-6 against the University of Albany. With softball coming off an America East championship last year and baseball still building around young stars like Danny Casals it provides a fun and great opportunity for students who are looking to learn or get involved in broadcasting and production.

Sam Hallett is the Director of Digital Content for UMaine athletics and gave some insight on the chances the expansion brings.

Right now we currently use students with work study and volunteers to cover the broadcasts, but I hope to be able to create a course to offer students based around these live broadcasts.” He said, “ESPN is a big name in the sports world and I see this becoming some great experience for students who want to be involved in the sports world.”

Around campus not much is offered for students who look to gain experience in broadcasting beyond the campus radio station, 91.9FM WMEB. The Sports Department offers a chance for broadcasting experience and on-air experience with weekly radio shows Tuesday and Thursday, from 2-4 p.m. Hallett is looking to change that culture on campus, moving forward by giving students a second option where they can gain even more experience in not just broadcasting, but production, stat keeping and other aspects that go into a professional broadcast.

Each broadcast will use the same equipment and follow the same formatting that you see when you watch nationally televised games on ESPN.

“Having those tools at your disposal are [sic] so valuable in this industry,” Hallett said. “My overall goal is to have an entirely student run broadcast to show off the talent we have and can teach right here at the University of Maine.”

With no classes that offer a direct window into the world of sports broadcasting, Sam is opening a door for a many students who have always wanted to be involved. “We are always looking for extra help, so I would encourage anyone who is interested in broadcasting sports to swing by or feel free just to stop by and take a look at what we do.”

Students who are looking to be involved can reach out to Sam via email at samuel.hallett@maine.edu or find him in his office at the Memorial Gym, which is attached to the Field House on campus. For students looking to be involved in radio broadcasts, please contact the sports department at WMEB at wmebsports.maine@gmail.com or swing by to the basement of the Memorial Union where the station is located.

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