Above: Jack Beyrer '17 and Brendan Ryan '17 announcing the Regis-Xavier tripleheader for a live broadcast stream. Beyrer described the opportunity as "one of greatest experiences in my Regis career."
What do you do when the hottest tickets of the year—tickets to the Regis-Xavier tripleheader—sell out within minutes of availability?
That was the dilemma faced by a majority of students two weeks ago when they learned the disheartening news that they would not be able to attend the annual rivalry match-up. For some seniors, it meant that they would miss their last chance as students to cheer for Regis on West 16th Street.
Joe Callaghan '17 was one of a few students who had a similar thought: why not try to live stream the game? He discussed the idea with classmate JD Calvelli '17.
"JD and I had previous experience with live streaming on websites like Twitch.tv, so we were confident we could determine a solution for live streaming with YouTube," said Callaghan. "After discussing with the Regis IT staff, who provided a lot of equipment and advice, we got ourselves acquainted with the interface and tested the very basics in the English Resource Center. When we got it working, we knew we could replicate it in the Xavier gym, so long as we had power and a network to connect to."
(Pictured: one of the coveted tickets to the January 22 basketball games at Xavier High School)
Various administrators at Xavier were brought into the discussion and all were very generous, providing access to the Xavier gym and granting access to network resources. If the students could get it to work, Xavier was happy to support the effort.
Jack Beyrer '17 and Brendan Ryan '17 were also involved in developing the initial concept of live streaming the game, and when they caught wind that the upcoming experiment was in the works, they both immediately expressed interest in helping with the broadcast. The two juniors currently produce a sports-themed podcast for The Falcon, Regis's sports journal, and they felt up to the challenge of announcing the varsity basketball game.
"I am an absolute sports fanatic," said Beyrer. "The voices of Mike Breen P'09'15, Gary Cohen, and Howie Rose comprised a great deal of my childhood. Sports broadcasting was always something that interested me."
"Once the possibility of the livestream was conceived, Jack and I knew we wanted to call the games," added Ryan.
To help the students prepare for their first-ever broadcast, Mr. Andrew Bogusch '98 volunteered time out of his schedule to provide some insider tips and secrets of the trade. A seasoned broadcaster, Bogusch can be heard weekday mornings delivering sports news updates across the country on CBS Sports Radio, and is currently broadcasting games for Verizon FiOS and the Atlantic 10 Digital Network.
"I just wanted to make sure they knew the nuts & bolts of a broadcast," said Bogusch. "There are a million ways to call a game. There are plenty of ways to have fun and show off your personality, but there are some things you simply have to do to make it an informative and entertaining listen for your audience. Things like score and time, not talking over each other, and saying the player names correctly."
"A broadcaster's spotting charts are his/her best friend," quipped Bogusch. "The cool benefit that Jack and Brendan had was their personal knowledge of the Regis players. Those connections made the broadcast so much better."
(Pictured: Beyrer and Ryan in action during the Regis-Xavier varsity basketball game. Photo: Harisch Studios)
Beyrer and Ryan did extensive research on both the Regis and Xavier players and prepared notes to help make their commentary impartial. They spent a good deal of time jotting down ways in which they could showcase both schools in the best way possible. On game day, Bogusch volunteered to attend the tripleheader and listen to the broadcast in real time. This allowed him to provide on-the-spot tips and suggestions during breaks in the action. Bogusch was impressed with the quality of their work.
"I thought they were great. They were prepared and approached the game in such a professional manner. A lot of first-timers might have thought they could do the game off the top of their head, so to speak. But Jack and Brendan did a lot of work to get ready for the broadcast. And once it started, they didn't get overwhelmed by the game and atmosphere," said Bogusch.
For Ryan, having Mr. Bogusch available for support and advice added immensely to the learning experience.
"His insights before, during, and after the games were both amazing and crucial in improving our work. It was extremely special to have a professional guiding us through our first time announcing a live event. During the first two games there were some kinks that needed to be worked out, but we knew we were ready by the varsity game. The experience itself was one of both fun and learning."
Beyrer echoed those sentiments.
"Mr. Bogusch was an invaluable resource for Brendan and me. Earlier in the week he gave us tips on how to research for the game, and then as we were broadcasting he was there for support and advice. Mr. Bogusch is an absolutely phenomenal person and mentor, and he was a critical part of the behind-the-scenes work that happened for the games. Announcing the game itself was one of the greatest experiences in my Regis career."
Since the live stream was an experiment, the video feed was not advertised beyond the students and staff of both schools. At Regis, a viewing party was organized in the auditorium and made available to all students without tickets to the game. Reports soon came in from the tri-state area of faculty and students successfully tapping into the live feed.
"The beauty of the experiment was that so many unique and different groups within the school were able to come together to make something so awesome happen," said Calvelli, who helped with video production on game-day. "It was great to be a part of something so unique."
Above: Joe Callaghan '17 (far left), seated next to Mr. José Machuca '92 (Regis IT), helped control video and audio output for the live stream. Mr. Andrew Bogusch '98 (back, right) listened in to the live broadcast in order to provide pointers at game breaks.