Athletic site branches to new technical features

By Charles Guthrie

The new and improved Rider athletics site is finally up and running as of Jan. 24. has undergone a transformation and should give all future visitors an easier and more efficient way to keep up with their favorite sports teams on campus.

Some of the new features offered include streaming video and audio of certain events to go along with fan polls, a photo store and online ticket sales in the near future.

“We have more live events, not just men’s and women’s basketball,” Assistant Sports Information Director Brian Solomon said. “Mom and dad can see their son play even though it’s not TV studio quality yet. We are working on that and will have better equipment in the future.”

The audio broadcast and the live stats are free, but a $6.95 fee is required to watch the video feed. This can help bolster recruiting, Solomon said, because now prospective athletes get to watch the teams play from home.
It may not be of TV production quality yet, but the athletics department is working on it.

“Next year we are trying to have the audio tied in with the video,” he said. “Hopefully we will have multiple video angles that we are planning for down the road next year. We have the students that want to do it, the biggest thing is getting our own equipment. There are budgetary and logistical issues we have to deal with.”

One of the things they were looking for when building the site was the ability of the users to get what they need right off the site so the department can focus more on improving the content it provides.

“The more the site is self-supporting, and once people can get what they need off the site, the more time we can spend writing,” Solomon said.

The discussion about the site change came when the department met with Director of Enrollment Planning, Reporting and Internet Projects Jennifer Cafiero and Jamie O’Hara, Vice President of Enrollment Management.
“We had spoken over the summer and the consensus of opinion was while they were able to meet our needs now, they were unsure about the future,” Solomon said. “We thought since they were redoing the Rider site that it would be a good time to branch off and do our own thing in conjunction with theirs.” was once a part of Rider’s main page, as President Mordechai Rozanski wanted all the sites to be uniform. It wasn’t a problem until features on the site, such as live stats, video streaming and audio streaming, started to evolve, Solomon said. Staffers weren’t sure if they would be able to meet those needs on the main website since they were run through a third party. The athletics site can also include its own advertisements now that it is no longer a part of the educational site.

While the athletics page was under construction, the sports department had to update three sites. With the new site set ready to go, fans get their news quicker.

“This way we only have to update one site,” Solomon said. “It was once taking me a half-hour to post stories and I can now do them in five minutes. It saves time when fixing mistakes. The changes happen instantly, almost too quickly.”

The site was designed and is run by Jump TV/Exos. In deciding what the main design would be, the athletic department worked tirelessly to find the right fit. Associate Athletic Director Karin Torchia and Solomon perused 150 other collegiate athletic sites to see what they wanted.

“We narrowed it down to 15 to 20 designs we liked and took what we liked from each one,” Solomon said. “We would then have Athletic Director Don Harnum look at them and make sure we were on the right page. The company would then give us a mock page to see if we liked it. We went through about 20 mockups before we started.”

Solomon was a major player in the construction of the site as he had to oversee all of the movement of content. Solomon hired seven student workers who were assigned a sport or two and worked over the break in transferring material to the new page.

“The student workers have been great,” he said. “They have been posting in bulk without going bleary-eyed.”
Since the mass movement of material had to be done manually, the site isn’t completely finished and there’s still more work to be done. Solomon said around 30,000 pages have been done so far, but there’s still another 20,000 to go.

“It’s still a work in progress, but we did get a lot done,” he said. “We are excited about it, and in the long run the people will be happy.”

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