Collegiate Programs Buy Pixellot AI Streaming Gear With CARES Act Funding
Rocky Mountain College, Missouri State University are two of the first institutions
Since early in 2020, the live–sports-production industry has felt the unfortunate consequences of the prolonged COVID-19 pandemic, and no other sector of the business has been hit harder than the college community. With health and safety guidelines capping the number of permitted onsite camera operators, collegiate programs are adopting Pixellot AI live-streaming technology through funding obtained by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
“We’re working with two schools, Rocky Mountain College in Montana and Missouri State University-West Plains,” says David Shapiro, president, North America, Pixellot. “These programs are reacting to the changing [production] environment, and, since they’re getting ready to have games without fans in the stands, they’ve used these funds to pay for our technology in order to adjust.”
Forced to forgo a traditional broadcast setup with manned cameras, some schools are pivoting to a live-streaming model that may be unfamiliar territory. The idea of teaching this new way of production during a global pandemic is even harder with students working from their respective homes. For these two smaller universities, a significant change like this comes with a steep learning curve.
“They’ve produced games before but not necessarily through streaming,” Shapiro explains. “We’re educating them on how they can produce, how [the equipment] is set up and managed, and where and how the content can be distributed. If they want to send it to their YouTube channel or to their local CBS station, they can do that.”
In addition to each school’s affiliated outlets, Pixellot’s distribution deal with SIDEARM Sports, which is operated by Learfield IMG College, is another notable avenue that these programs can take to have their content seen by viewers. In addition to giving programs the necessary knowledge to move forward, the company is giving institutions more flexibility in their workflows —whether onsite in the control room or while working remotely.
“A lot of these schools don’t know if they’re going to be able to have students on campus or, if they can, what the limitations are,” says Shapiro. “Students can still be engaged with our workflow at home. For example, they could be doing remote play-by-play commentary helping with on-air graphics.”
As programs look return to the familiar in the future, the team at Pixellot is assisting their efforts by providing 24/7 support and answers to their technological questions. In a time when many things remain uncertain and some collegiate programs continue to look for reliable solutions, the company aims to build a stable foundation.
“Pixellot will transform what we are able to do as an athletic department to produce all of our games and reach our alumni, students, and fans,” says Dr. Angela Totty, dean of student services, Missouri State University-West Plains. “These are challenging times for every athletic department, and we are confident that Pixellot will help us overcome some of the current challenges.”