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Reflections of a sports info vet Sports

As I sit at my desk in the bowels of Clark Gymnasium, I reflect on the sports information profession. Where it’s been, where it is and where it’s going.

When I started out some 15 years ago (the fact the I’ve been in this profession for 15 years makes me feel OLD), the Internet was just coming into being. Back in the day, if fans wanted RIT sports news they read the newspaper, or called the RIT Tiger hotline. Hometown releases were sent via conventional mail or fax. There were no blogs, webcasts, video streams or live stats.

Statistics were done by hand. An example would be basketball. Back then you needed one student worker to keep track of shots, one student to keep track of minutes played and one student to keep track of rebounds. After the game they all came into the office and spent 20-30 minutes adding, subtracting and tabulating the stats and handwriting them into the box score.

The first breakthrough was the Internet and statistic programs. The Internet opened a whole new avenue for fans to get news. Sports information directors had to add computer skills and Web site management to our toolbox.

With the new statistic programs time was cut in half in tabulating and disseminating statistics. You could then take the statistics and post them onto your Web site along with your game story so that fans, alumni and parents could see a re-cap of the game and the statistics within minutes of the games completion.

Now, we have a multitude of new media technologies to get the word out on RIT Athletics. Along with mass media we can promote RIT Athletics using the RIT Athletics Web site, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Let’s use a RIT hockey as an example.

When the puck drops, fans can follow the game from the comfort of their home using live stats. The stats are linked directly to the Web site. They get all the stats, scoring summaries instantaneously.

They can listen online to the radio broadcast or watch online with the video stream. We link the video feed from the live TV broadcast into a computer and send it out. Fans from as far away as British Columbia, Canada, can watch the game and listen in.

After the game, stats are updated almost instantaneously. We can send text messages or updates on Facebook and Twitter. Video highlights are available on the Web site using YouTube.

Alumni and parents can sign up to be fans of RIT Athletics on Facebook and get regular updates on games, schedule notes and alumni events. We can drive people to our Web site by sending a Twitter message.

It’s been 15 years since I broke into the profession of sports information. The profession has moved from the typewriter to the PC; from the fax machine to Web sites; from doing stats by hand to computer programs that give results instantly. Who knows where it can go from here, but what a ride it will be!


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