CSVS Brings Together College Video Leaders To Move the Industry Forward

The College Sports Video Summit continues to transform the college-video industry, with 550 attendees at last week’s third-annual edition in Atlanta. The June 7-8 event brought together professionals from college and university athletic departments, academic divisions, conference offices, production companies, regional and national sports networks, and technology companies to help advance the creation, production, and distribution of college sports content.

“SVG runs one of the smartest conferences around in their College Sports Video Summit,” says Mark Fratto, senior associate AD for communications at St. John’s University. “By putting rightsholders in the same room with everyone I need to talk to about production, distribution, and even the technology required to get it done, SVG’s CSVS is one-stop shopping for innovations in college sports video.”

Roger Dunaway, assistant AD for athletic communications at Tulane University concurs: “I thoroughly enjoyed this year’s event, and it was very productive for me to see. I’ve already made a pitch to send at least one of our video guys next year.”

The event kicked off with a keynote address by Chris Plonsky, women’s AD/senior associate AD, Athletics External Services, for the University of Texas. She traced the evolution of UT’s Longhorn Network, built in collaboration with ESPN and IMG and set to launch in August, and noted that, while the 24/7 Texas network will be paid for by sports events, its biggest impact will be off the field.

“This network is going to be very special for college sports, our university, other universities, and higher education in general,” Plonsky told the standing-room-only crowd. “There’s a hunger for content, but technology and personnel cost money. How to monetize this appropriately was the biggest challenge, and we labored over that concept for a long time.”

Tuesday’s program included three general sessions, each priming a track of workshops for Wednesday. The first, aimed at big-budget schools looking for ROI, discussed digitizing archives and looking for value in college sports content beyond the broadcast window. The second, designed for sports information directors and professors, discussed how to go from zero to video and whom to turn to for help. The third, designed for video coordinators and those with technical expertise, offered a primer on IPTV, discussing what it is and why it is important to college sports video.

“CSVS was the first media convention I have attended, and it is an invaluable experience for anyone, especially a student,” says Courtney Krebs, an intern with the University of South Carolina’s Gamecock Productions. “It was such a great opportunity to meet professionals in the industry. On day 2, I attended the Boot Camp track, and it taught me a ton of great tips. I would recommend anyone attend this conference.”

Tuesday’s events closed with a ceremony announcing the winners of the 2011 College Sports Media Awards. The competition, presented by SVG and the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA), awards the nation’s best college sports videos produced by college athletics departments, college academic departments, and professional media companies. Over its three years, the competition has helped raise the bar in college-sports-video production as attendees see what the best of the best are producing and strive to match that level of expertise.

“These awards give everybody the opportunity to see what’s going on in the industry,” says Michael O’Leary, writer/producer of the University of Michigan’s Timeless feature, which was named the XOS Digital College Sports Video of the Year. “I was up for this award last year and lost to a great film from Oregon. Seeing what everybody else is doing really does spur my creativity and gives me some motivation to try new things.”

On Wednesday, between track sessions, Tom Odjakjian, associate commissioner for the Big East Conference, delivered a luncheon keynote that brought the audience back together. During his address, Odjakjian, who was celebrating the 30th anniversary of his first day working at ESPN, reviewed some of the history of college sports video. From the 1984 Supreme Court ruling that enabled individual colleges and conferences to sell their own broadcast rights to the growth of conference- and school-specific networks, he marveled at the pace at which college sports video has moved forward and mused on what the future might look like five years down the road.

Check out www.CSVSummit.com for photos and videos from the 2011 College Sports Video Summit, as well as for information on the 2012 event!