and the ACC. I knew that would get your attention.
I can't tell you how many times I have heard Pirate fans complain about
the huge amount of media coverage given to the ACC right here in
eastern North Carolina. You win, you get coverage. It's that's simple
right? Not really.
Sports departments at
local television stations and newspapers are shrinking all across the
country and it's harder than ever to cover sporting events that really
matter to the people in your coverage area. Take WITN for example. The
sports department last year consisted of three people and this
year we are down to just two. Surprisingly, two man sports departments
are very common even in much bigger markets.
ECU sports takes precedence over all others at WITN as it should. East
Carolina University is the only Division One program in eastern North
Carolina and covering the Pirates effectively leaves little time or
energy to cover teams from the ACC. But if you notice, during the week
preview ACC games and usually have highlights of each in-state ACC game
the following Saturday. How is that possible with such a limited staff?
Satellite feeds. Very good satellite feeds provided by the ACC.
Each Wednesday during football season the ACC provides television
stations across the country a free one-and-a-half-hour satellite feed.
The feed includes football highlights and interviews with players and
the head coach of each team in the ACC, all packaged up nice and
pretty for the unlimited use of any accredited TV station.
I can simply dial up the satellite and record all the interviews I need
for the week without traveling to Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill or
Winston-Salem. Talk about a no-brainer! On top of that, some ACC
schools have their own satellite uplink systems on campus. Those
schools also have their own video department to shoot games on the
weekend and edit those games down to send out to TV stations interested
in their teams. Once again, free of charge. So, not only do you not
have to attend the school's weekly press conference, you don't have to
go to the game! And the average viewer doesn't know the difference. The
ACC provides the same service during basketball season. This
effectively gets the schools atheltic product across the airwaves and
into the homes of millions.
Yes, Conference USA has a similar weekly feed system but quite honestly
it doesn't hold a candle to the one provided by the ACC and it's only
during football season. Television stations in other parts of North
Carolina that simply do not have the manpower to cover ACC teams
in their market and send a crew to Greenville usually just go
without ECU highlights in their shows. When was the last time you saw a
Raleigh or Durham television crew at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium when the
Pirates weren't playing Duke or N.C. State?
The bottom line is that ECU needs to take the bull by the horns and
make their product available to television stations outside of eastern
North Carolina. A satellite uplink on campus would allow the university
to send video highlights and post game interviews to TV stations
across the country. Schools like Auburn, South Carolina and
Virginia have their own uplinks. ECU should too.
Believe it or not there's a lot of interest in ECU around the southeast
but television stations just have a very hard time getting video of the
games. This is a video-driven business and without the video most TV
stations outside of eastern North Carolina will not bother to put ECU
in their sportscasts.