UNC Heels ‘Go’ With NeuLion for New Online Service

The University of North Carolina is relaunching its online sports video service on July 1 as GoHeels TV, and it will be NeuLion’s technology that will ensure Heels fans around the globe can tune into their favorite team regardless of what device they are using.

“We want to give our fans what they want, whenever and wherever they want, and only need to upload it once,” says Rick Steinbacher, UNC associate athletic director. “NeuLion is a great solution because they are committed to streamlining the video production process. We upload it once and it is available on a tablet, PC, phone, or even through syndication partners. It is really attractive to have one video be distributed to a lot of different platforms easily.”

An in-house media division will produce the videos alongside other duties that include video for scoreboards, coaches TV shows, and even producing select events for ESPN3.

“They also do untold other projects for commercial or recruiting reasons and they even produced a video of the student athlete banquet,” adds Steinbacher.

Chris Wagner, NeuLion president, says NeuLion takes game feeds into its system and then provides a browser-based editing system that allows a school’s staff to cut clips and highlights.

“UNC will go from an SD to HD stream and also move from Flash-based, multi-stream encoding to one HD signal that is delivered adaptively to multiple devices,” he adds.

The browser-based editing system can be accessed from any location and has a very simple user interface that does not require technical expertise. The team is expected to get clips to fans five times quicker than the previous system,

“The user drops the highlights into bins and can create top 10 plays, best of the week highlights, and even transitions,” says Wagner.

The only hardware involved is an Intel-based NeuLion h.264 encoder platform. That encoder brings in content streams (ideally at a minimum speed of 3 Mbps) and then turns it around and publishes it to multiple devices and platforms.

“They can also drive things around interactive services and sell content through the Facebook page with Facebook credits,” adds Wagner.

Baseball and lacrosse matches will be a major part of the service, as well as Olympic sports, especially as those sports grow in importance worldwide.

“As they become more accepted, we can penetrate more and more households,” says Steinbacher. “And it is also critically important to our coaches that they can recruit someone in California and tell the parents that even if they can’t make it to the game they can still watch their daughter or son play.”

With more than 500,000 Facebook fans and about two million page views per month, the Heels will be sure to expand the reach of their Web properties.

“NeuLion brings a lot of technology and support and their objectives align with ours, so we’re excited,” adds Steinbacher.