NewTek and JumpTV Bring Live Streaming to the Penn Relays

By John Rice

The Penn Relays in Philadelphia are celebrating their 115th anniversary this week. But this year marks the first time that races will be streamed live from the event’s main site at the University of Pennsylvania’s historic Franklin Field.

“Last year was really the first time that we tried to develop some video-on-demand and audio-on-demand content for the Relays’ Website,” explains Brian Seltzer, broadcasting coordinator for Penn Athletics. “We got very good positive feedback through our Website. This year, we decided to see if we might be able to expand that to [live] streaming.”

The 24 “Champion of America” relays for high school and collegiate athletes will be streamed live, beginning with the college women’s distance medley at 5:15 p.m. ET on Thursday April 23. Coverage will continue on Friday April 24 and Saturday April 25. Each race, following its conclusion, will be made available for archived viewing.

The Penn Sports Network uses NewTek’s TriCaster portable live-production system, with JumpTV handling the Penn Relays Website. Penn Athletics has previously used the TriCaster to stream football, field hockey, and men’s and women’s lacrosse. NewTek has “a really good product. We’ve had a lot of positive experiences using the technology,” Seltzer says, noting that the TriCaster Pro will be used to stream the races from Franklin Field and the TriCaster will handle press conferences from an auxiliary site. All material will be in standard definition.

Throughout the competitions, the Penn Sports Network will also be producing highlights and interviews that will be available as free-of-charge, video-on-demand downloads. Those pieces will be “more events- and results-driven this year than last year,” says Seltzer.

The Penn Relays is the world’s largest track and field event, with 322 individual events and as many as 16,000 high school and college athletes and former Olympians participating.

“The Relays have such an enthusiastic following,” says Seltzer. “It has a really diverse and global scope. The magnitude of the event is huge.”