I want to be clear, this isn’t a shot at the National Collegiate Hockey Conference. They’re a first-class organization and over the first five years of the conference’s existence, they’ve done an excellent job running the conference. With that caveat, I am taking issue with some schools in the NCHC.TV and their webcasts. Check out exhibit A, the featured image above.
So far this season, I’ve been away from home for work and I’ve had to rely on NCHC.TV for my University of North Dakota hockey fix. Here’s what I what I’ve seen so far.
Obviously, the UND webcasts on NCHC.TV has been very good and I have no complaints. I also thought that the University of Alaska Anchorage’s webcast was decent. Maybe we could use their broadcasts as a minimum standard. Again, I am not here to beat North Dakota’s chest, however, we’re blessed at UND. I want to be frank, we have firsts class organization running our hockey and football broadcasts. The other schools in the conference should take note.
Yes, there’s much to be thankful for.
Outside of the CBSSN on-air staff, Midco’s on-air staff is second to none. I wouldn’t trade them for anyone in the NCHC. UND hockey’s play-by-play Alex Heinert is very well prepared and does a great job calling the games from the press box. His color analyst Jake Brandt has done a good job and grown into his role. Check out exhibit B below.
You can see from the screenshot from last Friday’s Colorado College broadcast, the quality was very poor. Some might call it unacceptable. The visiting team’s play-by-play announcer was also very hard to listen to. While some may think that this is nitpicky, we’re paying a decent amount of money to watch subpar webcasts.
The NCHC is a first class league, and I think there needs to be a minimum standard if schools are going to charge people to watch their broadcasts. I’d also like to know what some of these schools are doing with the money they make from their broadcasts?
Again, this was my view last Friday and Saturday night. It was no better last season when I attempted to watch their webcast. Those broadcasts were just as bad. Again, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect a school to be able to produce a usable, watchable product. Of course, we’d need to determine what kind of a measuring stick we’re going to use. Do we use pixels, number of cameras? What? I know there are a few conference webcasts that need some work.
I am not just throwing C.C. under the bus, there are others schools in the NCHC that have webcasts that need to improve. I have found that Western Michigan, Nebraska-Omaha, and Miami also have poor webcasts.
On the other side of the ledger, UND, Minnesota-Duluth, and St. Cloud have what I would call acceptable and watchable broadcasts.
SCSU broadcasts a number of their games on FSN, and they’ve been very well produced. SCSU has had a few of their former students go on to bigger and better things after college. Taylor Budge is one person that comes to mind. During her time at SCSU, she was outstanding and did a great job in a sideline reporter role, much like Katie Hale. After graduating from SCSU, Budge joined KTTC/KXLT and is now a sports anchor and producer.
Again, Midco is leading the way in the NCHC, check out their highlights they have of last weekend’s game. Obviously, the quality of C.C. highlights isn’t as good as they are on Midco Sports Net. Poor video aside, I think, that Heinert did a good job breaking down the series from last weekend.
Finally, I don’t think don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect the NCHC schools to have acceptable, watchable webcasts. Especially, if you’re going to charge people what I would consider a sizeable fee of $18.50 a month or roughly 111.00 a season to watch college hockey. That’s kind of expensive when half of the broadcasts are low quality or unwatchable. Are we being unreasonable to expect schools to have a minimum acceptable standard? A top league needs to have first class webcasts.