The Sports Video Group and the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics are pleased to announce that the University of Nebraska has been selected as the recipient of the fifth-annual SVG/NACDA Technology Leadership Award. The award will be formally presented at the SVG College Sports Summit in Atlanta on June 1.
The Technology Leadership Award is presented to the university athletic department that meets the outlined criteria of commitment to the investment in and execution of broadcast and video infrastructure and technologies.
The University of Nebraska has long been the standard bearer when it comes to commitment to video production and investing in a top-notch staff that continues to innovate across all verticals.
“The Nebraska Athletic Department is very honored to receive the SVG/NACDA Technology Leadership Award,” says Shot Kleen, Assistant Athletic Director for HuskerVision at the University of Nebraska. “This award is the culmination of our administrative, professional, and student staffs working together to provide information and entertainment to our student athletes, our fans, and our friends in the media.”
Today, the university’s HuskerVision division employs 10 full-time employees and 40 paid student workers. The group, which is overseen by Kleen, Senior Associate A.D. – Marketing & Communications David Witty, and Executive Director of Video Production Kirk Hartman, annually produces more than 70 television shows that run locally and nationally, approximately 100 screen shows/streaming events, as well as providing content for the Huskers’ website, social media platforms, and mobile applications.
“On behalf of NACDA, we would like to congratulate the University of Nebraska athletics department on receiving the fifth SVG/NACDA Technology Leadership Award,” stated NACDA Executive Director, Bob Vecchione. “Video production and creative content are becoming increasingly important to college athletics and the fan experience, and it is important to shine a spotlight on the programs that are ahead of the innovation curve. NACDA is proud to partner with SVG for this annual recognition.”
The University of Nebraska installed its first videoboards in 1994, erecting 17’ high x 23’ wide video replay screens from Mitsubishi on the southeast and northwest towers of legendary Memorial Stadium. Playing off Mitsubishi’s popular term for its Major League Baseball videoboards, “DiamondVision,” HuskerVision was born under the direction of the late Jeff Schmahl, a 2015 recipient of the SVG College Pioneer Award.
Over the next 25 years, the athletic department and its administration has continued to demonstrate a tremendous commitment to Huskervision and its ability to innovate in the field of video production.
“The University of Nebraska has long been a symbol to the entire collegiate athletics community through its commitment to video production, specifically when it comes to in-venue fan engagement,” says Brandon Costa, Director of Digital for the Sports Video Group and Program Director of the SVG College Sports Summit. “HuskerVision has been a trendsetter since it was first founded and the group continues to push the envelope today. Their efforts have had a profound effect on how fans, students, and alumni nationwide experience college sports.”
As more videoboards were installed in venues across Lincoln, including the Bob Devaney Sports Center, Nebraska was one of the first in the industry to connect its venues via a fiber optic network, doing so in 1999, and turning its control room inside Memorial Stadium into a centralized production facility that could serve multiple screens anywhere on campus.
In 2009, the university invested more than $4 million to take Memorial Stadium into the era of high-definition. With new videoboards and a complete control room overhaul done in partnership with Alpha Video Sports and Entertainment, HuskerVision became home to one of the first fully-HD production facilities of any kind in the entire Midwest.
Aside from its tremendous in-venue work, HuskerVision was also among the pioneers in digital and social video distribution. In 2011, Kelly Mosier was moved from the HuskerVision team to oversee the Huskers online presence as the Director of Huskers.com. There he began creating exclusive content for the website and made Nebraska one of the first athletic departments in all of college sports that dedicated resources to creating social- and digital-first content. Today, Mosier is the Assistant Athletic Director for Creative and Emerging Media and oversees five full time staff members and a number of students who create graphic design and video content for social media, Huskers.com, and various print materials.
The Huskers opened the doors to a new arena in the downtown Haymarket area of Lincoln for its men’s and women’s basketball teams, the Pinnacle Bank Arena, in 2013. In additional to a centerhung scoreboard and ribbon boards, the venue featured a “pass-through” control room that links to HuskerVision’s main control room via fiber and an IPTV network.
In 2014, the athletic department continued to show its tremendous commitment by investing over $12 million in technology to improve the fan experience at Memorial Stadium by installing an extensive Wi-Fi system and upgrading phone and internet services in the building. That same year, a second control control room was added in Memorial Stadium, allowing HuskerVision to produce exclusive content for its Wi-Fi and IPTV networks. As part of the upgrade, Nebraska became the first entity in North America to deploy EVS’s XT3 media-production server and the C-Cast connected content platform, a central cloud-based platform that enabled HuskerVision to aggregate content, enrich it, and instantly deliver it to any platform.
Even today, Nebraska’s innovative spirit lives on as all the video screens in Memorial Stadium will be upgraded this summer. In addition, the department plans to incorporate the ability for fans to view closed captioning on their smart phone devices through the stadium’s Wi-Fi network.
To view the criteria used to select the SVG/NACDA Technology Leadership Award recipients, CLICK HERE.
SVG/NACDA Technology Leadership Award Recipients
2017 – University of Nebraska
2016 – University of Alabama
2015 – Brigham Young University
2014 – University of Oklahoma
2013 – University of Notre Dame