In 2015-16, Ball State Sports Link produced over 6,500 minutes (108 hours) of digital sports productions. Included were over 4,800 minutes (80+ hours) of LIVE sports on ESPN 3 and over 1,700 minutes (33+ hours) of other/studio/post productions.
Combined hours of students and staff dedicated to digital sports production reached over 75,000 hours in 2015-2016.
In 2015-16, Ball State Sports Link and Digital Sports Production students produced 33 LIVE events for ESPN 3.
Since 2009, students in Ball State Sports Link have been awarded over 70 state or national awards for their work in sports media and production, including 11 student and professional Emmy Awards and 7 Best in College Sports Media Awards presented by the Sports Video Group.
With its 7th SVG win in 2015, Ball State is the winningest school in the SVG/College Sports Media Awards. Ball State earned four nominations in 2016, bringing its total to an SVG-record 30 nominations since 2011.
Ball State won the SVG’s best sports feature story for five straight years.
The success is also apparent in the state of Indiana, where students in Sports Link have racked up 24 first-place finishes in the Indiana Association of School Broadcasters competition and 14 Indiana Society of Professional Journalists Awards, including six straight for feature reporting/storytelling.
For the second straight year in 2016, in cooperation with the President’s Office and Ball State Athletics, Sports Link produced BSU’s second student-athlete awards show, The Chirpies.
The event was produced live from Emens Auditorium with an in-house attendance of over 800 and a national digital audience on ESPN 3. #Chirpies was trending on Twitter #1 in the state of Indiana for 7 hours and remained trending for 48 hours.
In 2016, students operated a remote social/digital media hub for the NCAA March Madness, while Alex Kartman and Torey Fox lead a team of students from Rice University and the University of Houston working with the NCAA at the men’s Final Four in Houston.
In 2016, Sports Link expanded its March Madness coverage to include the NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship and Final Four in Indianapolis. Students created content, filtered content, reacted to content and operated an array of social media tools to provide fans the best experience. In addition, Sports Link student teams served as embedded team producers with each Final Four team, field producers capturing stories around the Final Four, reaction and info from NCAA-related events.
In 2014-2015, Sports Link and the NCAA National Office created an exclusive digital media externship for a student to work on the official NCAA brand through digital and social media. In 2016-2017, the externship expanded to two students selected.
Ball State Sports Link is the largest social media network, not just for Ball State Sports, but of any student media organization on campus — with over 30,000 followers/fans on its social media platforms. Social engagement and interaction increased by nearly 160% in 2015-16.
Students in Sports Link and Digital Sports Production make up nearly 90 percent of the student-production staff for the video boards at Scheumann Stadium and Worthen Arena. The addition of the Mid-American Conference contract with ESPN and ESPN 3, provided extensive — and increased — opportunities for students to hold on-campus jobs for in-venue and additional ESPN productions.
External validation continues to come in major ways. Professionals from ESPN — including feature reporter Tom Rinaldi, SportsCenter lead anchor John Anderson, SportsCenter coordinating producer Jack Obringer, ESPN Emmy-award winning producers Ben Houser and Martin Khodabakhshian — have all conducted visits and workshops with Sports Link students. Anderson has accepted an invitation as a David Letterman Distinguished Lecture Series in 2017.
• Since 2009, over 25 professionals from ESPN have contributed to Sports Link and Digital Sports Production.
Sports Link organized and hosted the SVG College Sports Regional on campus in March 2015. The one-day event attracted over 80 attendees (professionals and students) from schools such as Indiana, Purdue, Notre Dame, Butler, Vincennes, Wright State, Dayton, Illinois and Cincinnati. It was the largest SVG College Regional to date.
Senior Director Chris Taylor presented “Best Practices in Live Event Production” at the SVG Sports Summit: The Business of Sports Production in New York City.
Director Alex Kartman presented “Sports & Digital Media” to high school students at the 2015 and 2016 Indiana Association of School Broadcasters annual conference.
Director Alex Kartman, along with students Tyler Bradfield, Torey Fox and Zac Miklusak, presented “live sports production” along with the University of North Carolina at the SVG College Sports Summit in Atlanta in 2015.