What’s The Deal With the ESPN Deal?

Drake University Athletics and the Missouri Valley Conference recently announced they have finalized a partnership with ESPN3, an online only platform of the ESPN network.

Starting in October, all women’s volleyball games as well as men’s and women’s basketball games will be available to stream via ESPN3.

Not only is this a chance to heighten exposure for Drake and other MVC teams, but also an experience opportunity for students in the Valley.

Students will be responsible for not only filming the games but will have a hand in the production as well. Students will also help create graphics and direct productions.

The experience the students are gaining is different from the average college job. They will be working on a professional broadcast that can be viewed worldwide.

Terrence Thames, the Creative Services Coordinator for Drake University, is excited about the possibilities it will open up to students.

“Everything we’re doing is the exact same as ESPN.” Thames said. “We’re running an ESPN broadcast…. Giving students these opportunities is how they will set themselves apart in a crowded market.”

David Wright, an Associate Professor at the Drake School of Journalism and Mass Communication, agrees with Thames.

“We love practical experience, so it’s a match made in heaven,” Wright said.

Wright would like to eventually see students not only running the production behind the scenes but in front of the camera as well.

Thus could be happening as early as next spring in terms of shadowing and training to start as soon as the basketball season begins.

Wright is confident that Drake students can handle the level of professionalism it takes to be a talent for ESPN.

At the same time, Wright, as well as Drake Communications, is hoping that ESPN will take advantage of the opportunity and increased audience offered by the MVC.

Mark Lesser, the interim coordinator of Creative Services, is excited to be working with students who are new to the field.

“In some ways, it’s better than working with veterans,” Lesser said. “(The students) are passionate about what they do and learning the new technology.”

While a completely student-run production is exciting in many ways, there is also a hindrance in the size of the staff. The Creative Services team consists of only 35 students of varying educational backgrounds.

In the coming months, however, Thames and Lesser both worry about moving from staffing seven to staffing 15 students per game. While it will be a transition at first, the prospect of expanding the Creative Services staff is welcomed.

To become a part of the Creative Services team, or for more information about The Valley on ESPN3, students can contact Terrence Thames at terrence.thames@drake.edu.


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