Mizzou Gears Up To Roll Out Digital Network

Yet another Big 12 university is preparing to launch its own digital sports network. In the wake of the debut of Texas’s Longhorn Network and Kansas State’s KStateHD.tv, Missouri is joining the party: the Tigers’ digital network is set to debut on Dec. 1.

The network will be a mixture of on-demand and live-event content, with live game broadcasts typically coming from Olympic sports. Mizzou plans to include both athletic and university content, as well as historic videos and a weekly sports update show.

“Certainly, it’s going to evolve,” says Missouri Associate AD, Strategic Communications, Andrew Grinch, who spent nine years in marketing at Mizzou before a year-and-a-half stint with XOS Digital. “Where it is the day we launch and where it is two weeks later and a month later — hopefully, it continues to get better and continues to evolve from a programming standpoint.”

He adds that the goal is to upload at least two or three on-demand videos to the network’s server each day.

The Dec. 1 launch date — scheduled to coincide with the debut of a renovated athletics Website — gives Grinch and his team just over two months to prepare. Although many equipment decisions and purchases are yet to be made, the university has big plans to upgrade its video offerings.

Mizzou has streamed live games in the past, but, according to Grinch, they were typically single-camera shoots. For the network, live games will have a larger camera complement and an enhanced graphics system.

Some of the gear is already in place because the athletics department works closely with a campus-owned NBC affiliate on video production. “It’s kind of a hybrid, as we have some infrastructure in place,” says Grinch, “but then, there’s going to be some other items from an equipment standpoint that we’re going to need to procure in the next few weeks.”

While the features and content offerings are expected to be rather similar to KStateHD.tv, Grinch notes that the goals of the Mizzou Network are a bit different. Through its partnership with CBS Interactive, the university hopes to create content not only for itself but for other Websites as well.

“Really, what [K-State] is doing right now is upgrading what they were doing previously as far as live events go and moving them all to HD and enhancing those broadcasts,” says Grinch. “We feel like our version of a network is not only upgrading what we’ve been doing but enhancing the deliverable on the backend to eventually push this content not only to where it’s available on our Website and our mobile apps but also moving it past that to connected TV and then also through CBS’s network of Websites, giving us some version of syndication.”

Mizzou hopes to make as much of the content free as it can. However, fans should expect a subscription fee possibly on live-event and premium content. The structure of that fee has not yet been established.