On Friday, Jan. 30, the University of Oregon men’s tennis team celebrated a sweep against Nevada at home in Eugene, 7-0. The day was also marked by another positive event for Oregon tennis: It was the first time varsity tennis matches were streamed live online.
“Live streaming has been extremely exciting and a great advantage for not only our fans and supporters, but also as something that helps with our team development,” said women’s tennis head coach Alison Silverio. “It is also a huge recruiting tool, being able to say that your matches will be available live and people can watch you from anywhere.”
The men’s and women’s tennis programs are two of the last varsity athletic teams at the UO to provide streaming of their competitions, aside from golf and cross-country, which are limited due to their expansive outdoor venues.
“I wish I had had this when I was playing there,” said former Oregon tennis player Robin Cambier. “It is good for the current players because after matches you can get your match burned right away to use for practice.”
Equipping Oregon’s indoor tennis facilities with the right equipment to provide the matches live presented its own set of challenges.
“It’s a process in order for us to stream and have the ability to do so. Things like trying to find the right equipment to stream in HD quality with a high quality signal on individual courts. It was kind of a struggle to do,” said Scott LaBounty, the UO athletic department’s director of video production. “But from hearing from coaches, it sounds like we have it better than anyone else as far as the look.”
In December 2014, the Student Tennis Center was equipped with six fixed HD Internet protocol cameras, one for each court. Each camera runs through the third party software Wowza and is then broadcasted onto the Pac-12 Networks’ website. The university’s athletic website, GoDucks.com, provides links to the Pac-12 Networks’ live video stream along with live stats from each home match.
“To be able to stream our matches in HD is huge. Recruits, fans, families and friends will all be able to follow the Ducks. It really helps in getting exposure to the program,” said men’s tennis head coach Nils Schyllander.
Microphones were added in the tennis center at the beginning of February to round out the online viewing experience.
“Having the microphones will be great and complete the experience,” said Silverio. “It will be nice to have the chance to hear the excitement from players and fans when things are going well.”
With many players originating from nations thousands of miles away, the new system helps them share competitions with family and friends back home. Freshman Cormac Clissold, originally from Australia, said that the addition of the live stream has helped him stay in touch with his brother and former Oregon tennis player Aaron Clissold, who now resides in Hong Kong.
“He watched my match against Nevada, and he was messaging me during it. I came back to the locker room and had all the messages, so it was like he was talking to me during the match,” said Clissold. “That was pretty cool that he gets to watch live and still be involved.”
The first live stream match with sound will be available on Friday, Feb. 20 at 5:00 p.m. when the men’s tennis team hosts Nebraska at the Student Tennis Center.