While the majority of the school districts in Tompkins County as well as the IAC are live streaming athletic competition for free via YouTube, Trumansburg is one of the few districts that is asking its families to pay for a monthly subscription in order to stream its athletic events.
Along with Marathon and Southern Cayuga, Trumansburg is offering its families a monthly subscription of $10.99 to watch its athletic teams compete on the NFHS Network, a national streaming platform for high school sports.
The district purchased a Pixellot camera system back in 2019, which is exclusively compatible with NFHS Network and not any other streaming platforms. Athletic Director Jason Hodge said the original intention for purchasing the system was to provide a way for folks who could not attend games in person to watch virtually.
“A while ago, we were trying to offer our student athletes’ families who aren’t able to get to games – out-of-state families – we were thinking about them and them being able to utilize this service and be able to watch their relatives play,” Hodge said.
Hodge said the camera system’s usage is quite versatile. It provides college recruiters film to assess the athletes they are interested in. Trumansburg coaches have given it positive reviews, according to Hodge.
“I know our coaches are excited about the system because it provides them with game film afterwards,” he said. “They don’t have to hunt anybody down to go videotape for them.”
Other districts that are streaming athletic events for free on YouTube are using a Hudl camera system. Hodge said the district went with the Pixellot system because that was the best option at the time and it would not make sense to get rid of a practically new system for another one.
“We have a camera that does all the work for us, so I didn’t really think that we needed to pay somebody to film a game from a laptop,” he said.
In addition, a monthly subscription to the NFHS Network is cheaper ($10.99 per month) than how much it would cost a family to purchase home tickets to an athletic event in a month.
“The way I look at it, and the way we’ve been talking about it with other AD’s, is these parents would have a charge to get into games,” he said. “If we hosted four games, and a two-parent household were to come watch the games, that would be four dollars per game to watch it. If we have four games throughout the month, it would be $16 for the parents to be able to come watch, which is more than what the subscription is to NFHS Network for the month.”
Aside from a few glitches at the start of the winter season – during one basketball game the system was not updating the scoreboard displayed on the stream; that error has been fixed since – the system has been running quite smoothly.
Hodge said he is currently looking into if the NFHS Network would be willing to provide free streaming going forward.
“I’ve reached out to the company asking if there is a way for the school to pay a fee – one-time fee – so that the parents and the people who want to watch don’t have to pay,” he said. “I have not heard back from the company about that.”