By Dominick DeRosa
BroncVision, Rider University Athletics’ online portal for live broadcasts and on-demand video, began in 2008 after much effort put forth by Rider students and administration. Over the past few years, BroncVision has grown tremendously and participates in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference initiative in broadcasting live sports events on ESPN networks, including ESPNU, ESPN3 and ESPN+.
This portal has allowed the Rider community an opportunity to watch the event either live or as an on-demand video afterward. As sporting events went smoothly throughout the few years it progressed, the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the program due to many sports disruptions, including the schedules for different collegiate sports. With limitations, condensed schedules, last-minute postponements cancellations and forced re-scheduling of usual fall semester sports into the spring semester, the program had to adapt and keep pace. In addition, Rider Athletics recently hired a new Assistant Director of Athletics for Video and Live Events for BroncVision after former Assistant Director Brian Kazaks.
Kazaks, a former video production coordinator for Tennessee Technological University, was hired in early March; however, in the middle of a pandemic, a change of scenery was not that simple.
Kazaks, now in his new position for a little over a month, has been getting used to the different technology provided but has had some trouble in getting the necessary number of students to work to successfully broadcast games as the pandemic has caused a reduction in the number of students that live on campus. Having to get familiar with some new positions including pivot and replay, along with being short on staff, Kazaks had to adapt to the differences in Rider’s broadcasting versus Tennessee Tech.
With the recent announcement that Rider will allow students to come back to campus in the upcoming fall semester, Kazaks was not familiar with the news but would like to see more students involved in the broadcasting side of sports.
Kazaks said, “I just want to get out there at orientation and get students that are young and interested in doing this kind of thing. It is important to try and make this fun for them too.”
Kazaks explained that getting the word out about live sports broadcasting to sports media professors at Rider can be a huge benefit to draw in students.
There have now been plenty of opportunities available for students to broadcast games through the ESPN streaming, as it is required for Rider Athletics to have at least thirty productions broadcasted each year for the different sports which vary between conferences. That is a reason why so many broadcasts have happened this academic year with fall sports being crammed into the spring semester.
As Kazaks has now taken charge of what the future of BroncVision could look like, he understands that he has to adapt to many differences but did not shy away from making upgrades to grow.
He said, “I would love to try and incorporate a creative aspect in our department. Getting certain things on social media would be great for the fans and even the recruitment process for Rider Athletics.”
Former BroncVision Assistant Director Chris Foster was the one who initially thought of the idea of having an online streaming service. Foster believed that if Rider alumni or fans could not make it to any sporting events taking place, why not have the option to stream it through one’s mobile device?
With hard work and long hours of dedication, that was when BroncVision was born. He was able to bring his vision of Rider Athletics to live and on-demand streaming into something bigger. Foster has looked back at his time spent working on BroncVision and has appreciated every moment as it taught him well.
Foster remembered the difficult work he had to do to achieve his goals in having the broadcasts work their way up from inception.
Foster said, “I remember fondly being a student and wanting to improve on the product that they had, which was nonexistent. My junior and senior year staying until 3 a.m. in the gym because not only did we broadcast from a small room in the corner of Alumni Gymnasium, but we had to stay after the games to convert the file that the games were recorded into that would, later on, be uploaded to the Rider website.”
Foster put forth much effort into the project, and he has viewed BroncVision as an important part of his career.
“It is a chapter in my life that I am going to be proud of now and will be still years from now,” Foster said.
After being a part of Rider as the official Assistant Director since 2017, Foster has now passed the job to Kazaks and the Rider community. Foster is confident that Kazaks can make BroncVision even better than what it was.
Foster said, “He is going to grow in his own way, and I think it is going to go even further than what it was and become an even more polished production product.”
Dominick DeRosa is currently employed at Broncvision, The Rider News editors are not affiliated with Broncvision.