Game changers: the grind of sports game preparation

There are many important aspects to running the games and events on campus. Student volunteers, faculty and staff are always working hard to make each game run smoothly, safely and successfully. Those jobs include ticket scanning, bag checking, broadcasting, mopping the court and more. Miki Akiyama | Sun News Daily

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There are so many things going on before, during and after a game that the audience or players don’t even see. A whole other team of people is hard at work to make the whole experience memorable.

The amount of effort that goes into putting on a game or a competition in the athletic department is immense. Many people put their time and effort into making it not only a good game but also a good show that keeps the audience entertained. There are things like camera setups, efforts of all those involved and coordination for halftime shows.

The main way that the game gets out to the public is by broadcast. The Community Education Channel Broadcast group at Utah Tech University works hard to maintain a professional and quality show for those viewing each game at home. Games such as football, soccer, basketball, baseball and more are viewable through ESPN and the Western Athletic Conference.

ESPN has specific requirements for its broadcasting system. There are requirements for things such as cameras, commercials and playback feed. All of these elements must be up to par for the game to be successfully broadcast.

Lauren Golden, video and broadcast production coordinator, said: “ESPN has specific broadcast standards as far as what colors we can use on our score bar, what colors you’re supposed to use for each school, what the nickname is and how it should look. They’re very specific.”

The broadcasting group also works to make sure that everything that is being streamed onto ESPN or the WAC, such as the score or commercials, is running smoothly.

Utah Tech’s slogan is, “active learning. active life,” so these video production courses allow students the opportunity to operate cameras, playback and other tools. Throughout each game, there are a certain number of students operating cameras. There are also three to four staff members in the van operating commercial breaks, playback and other content to feed into the program.

This is a way for the school’s motto to come into play. The students who are involved in the production of these broadcasts have learned how to use and apply the equipment they are using in class, and then use those skills and that knowledge in real-world experiences at games.

There are many efforts made to make sure that students and the public are aware of the games that are going on. 

Utah Tech Student Association goes through each week and prints out Blazer Digest copies of the events throughout the week, which are most commonly found in the bathrooms throughout Utah Tech. The flyers have information on everything from dances, Wednesday events and athletic games. Included is any pertinent information about the events and games such as times, places, game themes and giveaway details.

The Stampede makes an effort to coordinate and bring energy to the games for not only the players but also for the audience.

These flyers are promoted on most of the Utah Tech social media pages along with the team’s pages.

Social media is one of the main ways that announcements are made as a way for the school to get students excited to cheer on teams and athletes.

Another key point to games is to make sure that all of the promotions that are going on during breaks and halftime are set up correctly. There are interns who are always hard at work to make sure those promotions go smoothly. 

“I have a team of four interns that select contestants, set up promotions and ensure that we have all prizes and anything else that is involved with those,” said Dallas Clifford, marketing and fan engagement coordinator. “We have a lot of promotions that we do, so games can get super hectic. My team does a really good job of making things run smoothly.”

These promotions not only help with funding and promoting the games, but they also help to keep the audience engaged with the game while there are breaks, time-outs or other interruptions that have them waiting around for the next thing to happen. 

Kaylan Walker, the athletics creative content coordinator, said: “I work with some incredible people. We are a small department, but everyone is always looking for ways we can improve. It takes a village, and all of my co-workers are go-getters and are each striving to make a difference in this community.”

For a lot of these sports, the game is often compared to a show or performance. Just as winning is important, making it an interesting experience to see is just as important.

“Putting on a game takes a lot of hard work behind the scenes with a lot of different people making it happen, but we all love to do it and want Utah Tech to succeed,” Clifford said. “The better show that we put on, the better experience fans have and the better atmosphere there is for our student-athletes.”