Duke Sports Go Digital for Online Audience

New production trailer allows for increased Internet broadcasts

Mike Cappetto, left, and Chad Lampman run through tests prior to a recent online broadcast of a field hockey game on ESPN3. Duke Athletics recently began using its own production trailer to broadcast Duke sports. Photo by Bryan Roth.

Duke sports fans may be used to seeing the Blue Devils on TV, but this spring, Duke Athletics is helping a handful of teams gain new exposure to a national audience.

Whereas Duke's football and men’s and women's basketball teams regularly appear on TV broadcasts, Athletics can now showcase other sports, from baseball to wrestling to field hockey. This spring, Duke unveiled its own television production trailer, a 24-feet long mobile unit that will be used to broadcast games on ESPN3, the online portion of the ESPN suite of networks.

ESPN3, which broadcasts to mobile devices, desktop computers, and some Xbox gaming systems, is showing 18 Duke games this spring. Last year, not a single Duke spring sport was shown on the network.

"The Blue Devil Network production trailer will be an invaluable branding tool for Duke Athletics for years to come," said Jon Jackson, associate athletics director for external affairs. "Thanks to a tremendous commitment by Athletic Director Kevin White and our senior leadership, we now have the equipment necessary to present Duke Athletics in the best possible fashion to a much broader audience."

Anyone is able to watch broadcasts online at ESPN3.com or on the WatchESPN app by logging in with their cable provider credentials. Complimentary access is also provided when users access the online network while on campus and using Duke’s Wi-Fi network A schedule of Duke games and broadcast platforms is available at GoDuke.com.

With the new trailer, Duke joins other ACC schools that have broadcast production capabilities. Currently, universities like North Carolina State, Virginia Tech, Clemson and University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill have similar technology, said Chad Lampman, director of video for the Blue Devil Network.

Along with three other full-time video production staff and local freelancers, Athletics employees support each broadcast with five cameras and at least four people in the new trailer. Lampman produces and directs each broadcast, while others maintain audio feeds, create replays and make sure ESPN-branded graphics show up on screen. Duke also provides its own talent to announce games, with play-by-play duties typically handled by Ryan Craig, Duke Athletics' director of digital media.

After the trailer was delivered to West Campus in October, staff spent about a month learning the ins-and-outs of their new workspace and even received a visit from an ESPN producer to walk through game day operations. In addition to sports broadcasts, the trailer may be made available to help cover other large campus events that need video coverage.

"Having this available provides exposure for our students, our program and the Duke brand in general," Lampman said. "It's an overall positive for the Athletic department and the university."

Athletics hopes to produce up to 40 games for ESPN3 each school year, providing exposure to Duke sports that otherwise wouldn't be seen on national broadcasts. Duke's baseball team, which had no games broadcast nationally last year, will have seven games on ESPN3 this spring.

"The addition of ESPN3 to our audio and video offerings through the Blue Devil Network offers Duke Baseball an even greater platform to market our brand," said Chris Pollard, head baseball coach. "I'm excited for our parents, alumni and fans to be able to view Duke Baseball in such a high definition format. Our visibility on ESPN3 is a great recruiting tool for the program."