Big South, NeuLion Revamp BigSouthSports.com

The Big South Network streams more than 600 live sporting events each year on BigSouthSports.com, so it is no surprise that the Conference’s redesigned website focuses on one thing – video.

The new Website, which launched earlier this week, is a joint venture between the Big South Conference and NeuLion. In addition to a new video portal that utilizes Adobe Flash Player, the Site has been given a new look and streamlined navigation along with a renewed commitment to social media sites like Twitter and Facebook.

“First and foremost, the look is a lot more up to date,” says Mark Bryant, coordinator of new media for the Big South Conference. “We had used the previous model of the site for a few years and we felt it certainly needed a facelift. We needed something with more play to our photos and our video – the imagery we have at our disposal that really reaches out to our fans.”

The New Video Player

The new site is staunchly video-centric, with live streaming and on-demand video of everything from swimming to football and basketball with a premium subscription as well as archived video clips, highlights, press conferences for free.

The new video player, designed by NeuLion, centers around a Flash Video portal. On the left are tabs for live events, games on demand, championship events, reviews and previews, features and highlights, news stories, and Big South features. When each tab is selected an extended list of events in that section is displayed on the right.

“We do a high volume of streaming and always have. We’re continuing in that vein and constantly trying to grow. The new video portal should enhance the video viewing experience for the fans,” says Bryant. “We’re transitioning every [school] to Flash and going to a more traditional 16×9 ratio and a higher bit rate. We feel we can go with higher compression and get better quality live and archived files by going to Flash.”

School-Specific Video Channels

More additions are on the horizon for BigSouthSports.com, including a fully revamped mobile products store and online merchandise store. However, Bryant is most excited about the development of school specific channels within the video player.

“We know that not everyone is coming to Big South Network for all Big South Schools, he says. “Someone may be coming to Big South Network and saying, ‘I just want all the Coastal Carolina I can get, I don’t care what any of the other teams are doing.’ So we will have a channel available that will have a Coastal Carolina skin and then all CCU events, live or archived, would filter into that channel. We will have that for each of our schools. We think that is one more way to get fans to our content and to have them stay with that content.”

NeuLion Drives New Site

NeuLion, which merged with Jump TV in June of 2008, are in the first year of a new deal with the Big South that makes them the primary web designers and live streaming provider for the conference. The Website relaunch played a key role in the new deal.

“Being partners on this has been big for both of us – considering the number of live events we bring to their platform and the level of capabilities they offer us as a conference,” says Bryant. “We worked closely with designers and the development team at Jump and NeuLion and they came with a lot of ideas to the table and they also did wonders with our feedback and adapted it into the final result. We’re very proud of how it turned out.”