Friday, September 24, 2010

Getting Better All the Time

Truth is, Friday consistently seems to be the best day of the week to get a SHOUT out there for everybody, but last week was a sick Friday so your resident SHOUTer was down for the count--sorry to miss one like that, but I'm back!

The Big South has been going through some interesting growth and development in recent times...nearly every member plus the Conference itself has seen online renovations in the form of key website redesigns -- the most recent ones to the party are Gardner-Webb and PC. If you haven't done so already, check out the all-new and now! It's okay, I'll wait...

Nice, huh?

Factor in the other web face-lifts seen pretty much everywhere else this year and you've got a pretty sleek online profile for the Big South Conference!

On top of that, we're seeing a growing trend for more schools to try their hands at supplementing the sites with more video production. Keep your eyes out for the efforts at Charleston Southern, High Point, and Winthrop, among others. I'm telling you, the difference between what's happening out there now and what was going on just a few short
years ago when there was resistance to the idea of streaming games and blank stares in reaction to the concept of additional video coverage...well, it's just staggering.

So much effort and initiative is out there now, and good work is being done. If you find yourself with a few minutes to kill sometime, do your own Big South "Web-O-Rama" like we do every so often here at SHOUT. Hit each member site and you'll see revised looks, fresh video, community stories, athlete profiles, new blogs and journals, and more every day. It really makes you proud to be part of the Conference.

Growth doesn't stop at clicks either--it extends to bricks, too. In athletic facilities, you have the remarkable upgrades performed at Liberty, the new baseball stadium at Gardner-Webb, construction proceeding at Asheville, and other projects on the books around the League. Turn from the athletic department for a moment and you see things like High Point University and its desired expansion from a growth campaign of $300 million to one of $2.1 BILLION over the next ten years.

Yeah, that's billion with a big "B" right on the front.
And yeah, that gets a "wow"...

The virtual homes are better, the physical facilities are better, the envisioned futures are better. The best part may be simply that it's all true and not just optimism on my part.

And while I'm feeling generous with the compliments, kudos to the NEW Online Store at
If you haven't taken a peek, give it a look--I think you'll be impressed with the variety and quality of merchandise for any chosen school and for the Conference itself. I speak from first-hand experience: I've ordered stuff for myself, and I've been pleased with the goods--and with the turnaround time. So a SHOUT-out to the Big South's new partner, Advanced-Online, for making the store bigger and better in every way!

Okay, that's enough gushing...let's just go out there and get some victories against those out-of-conference foes, okay??? Volleyball and men's soccer are already getting deeper into Conference play, which is exciting, but football and women's soccer are still getting some outside tests, so let's beat up on everybody else before we start beating up ourselves...

Enjoy the games! SHOUT...out.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Feeling Super Flipped at the Big South

Today I want to expand on a couple things I've referred to before with a little more detail, as I talk about bringing something new to the table this fall.

The Big South has been a pretty progressive collegiate conference when it comes to embracing technology and changing outlets for reaching out to fans. Obviously the website has been around for a long time now, although it's been through a number of updates over the years--the most recent and most positive
one coming early this year. That's still the fundamental core of the modern interaction with fans, friends, and followers, of course.

We're a few years into video streaming live events, growing the streaming arm (first "The EDGE" and now the Big South Network) to a robust 700+ events last year and planned again for this year. And not just games, but press conferences, media days, and other happenings Big South fans want to see.

Meanwhile, as that growth has been progressing, the social media/networking side of things has exploded from non-existence to an essential modern communication tool. The Big South branched out from its home site first with this blog 2.5 years ago, but in the year that
followed, the Conference found itself with a presence on YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook as well. In the more than 18 months of social media activity since then, the Big South has earned over 570 Facebook fans and nearly 750 Twitter followers, along with literally thousands of video views on YouTube.

So what would be next? With a jam-packed website, live video, social networking, and all the pieces and parts that interconnect those outlets, where would the Big South look now?

Turns out the answer is a little of the past and a little of the future. The Big South Network did what any self-respecting network has done for ages: announce its new fall line-up.

The massive game schedule is a given, and is assumed by all the Big South faithful, so that's not the "new" part here--no, we're talking about new programming: original "shows" on the BSN.

Viewers have the games and media activities, along with support programs like the BSN Viewers Guide, Royal Purple Round-Ups, and such, but what about original content designed for the Big South Network?

And that's my role, coming up with some of those answers--which direction would we go and how would we go about it? The concepts needed to be interesting enough to engage the viewers and valuable enough to get the critical participation from the member schools.

Commissioner Kyle Kallander felt a highlight program was essential, and everyone certainly agreed with that, which eventually gave birth to the "Big South Super 7"...after all, everybody does a top ten, right? So that's all part of the hook--a weekly show, therefore "the best seven plays from the last seven days", and not just one more top ten list. In two weeks, we've already seen some remarkable plays and players from football, soccer, and volleyball featured, with plenty more to come.

Two behind-the-scenes facts to share with you, dear SHOUT reader: one--we can't make the highlights from thin air, so the seven you see may not match the WOW of something you saw in person at a Big South event, but if the host school doesn't feed us the video, we have nothing to use...two--in addition to the hook of the alliterative "Super 7" and the tie to a show every seven days, the number was selected to confirm to the membership that, unlike many other things that are done here, not everyone was guaranteed equal footing--ten highlight slots for ten schools might have implied to some that there was a 1:1 correspondence, while starting with seven openings for ten members makes it clear that not all can make the cut.

Two editions of the Big South Super 7 have already appeared at and at, so check them out to see what we're up to these days.

Also already into its season is "Big South FLIPPED: On Campus". I know, it may sound like there's a lot going on in that title, but there's a method to the madness. First off, all the program titles are going to have "Big South" in there for sure, because the branding of your content is important in a time with internet video bouncing all over the world. Next is the seemingly obvious part, with "FLIPPED" -- because we gave each member school a Flip camera to capture video for this effort, and the Flip has become shorthand for that immediate, first-person video experience. So why keep going with "On Campus"? Why not stop with FLIPPED? To leave no doubt: these stories would not be told from afar; these stories would come from the source; these stories would bring the viewer closer to the experiences and atmosphere surrounding the student-athletes, athletic programs, and campus environments.

Already we have seen some interesting images and experiences shared with us this way: the first stop on the Big South Back-to-School Tour at Liberty, the help from Buccaneer football players for move-in day at CSU, the fun with volleyball players interacting with students at UNC Asheville, plus a chance to join a road trip with Asheville men's soccer (hop on the bus to Kentucky). These editions are only the beginning of what should be a fun way to learn more about our student athletes and athletic programs.

The third new show has not yet made its first appearance, but should make its debut next week: "Big South Coach Camp". No, this will not be another one of the traditional coach shows as you've become familiar with over the years. "Coach Camp" will engage a different coach from one of our member schools each week, as they share a few observations on the team, on leadership, and other newsworthy topics from a personal perspective--and then wrap up with a simple tip or example for improving your own game or coaching techniques. We have high hopes for this one as well.

So each week, the Big South Network should provide...

--a healthy selection of live streaming competition (especially so on the weekends),
--solid support programming, such as the Round-Ups and Viewers Guides,
--and a weekly slate of original content.

Roughly speaking, you should see something like this for your fall sports calendar:
Monday-- all collected events from weekend competition archived for On Demand viewing,
Tuesday-- LIVE football coaches teleconference in the morning (archived in the afternoon), plus the "Best of Big South FLIPPED" compilation show from clips posted that week,
Wednesday-- BSN Viewers Guide goes live, Big South Super 7 gets posted,
Thursday-- Big South Coach Camp gets posted,
Friday/Saturday/Sunday-- our biggest days for live events.

What do you think? Personally, I think it should all be a lot of fun--but only if you watch, so be sure to keep up with the goings-on at the Big South Network. Plus of course we'd love it if you subscribed/liked/followed us in our various outlets:

Lots of fun match-ups out there this week -- enjoy the games! SHOUT--out.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Football Football Football

Okay, it is finally time for the football fanatics to get their game on.

In fact, we've already started -- how about PC getting ESPN SportsCenter's Top Play for Thursday? Yeah, not just in the Top Ten, but the number one ranking for the day.
If you haven't seen it yet, try this link to ESPN Video.
There's a pretty good chance it will make this week's "Big South Super7"--more on that in a moment.

So you want to know a little bit more about what to expect, gridiron-wise?
Of course you do...

Here are the team-by-team preview capsules from
Stony Brook
Coastal Carolina
Charleston Southern
Presbyterian College

And here's where you'll get the Conference's notes for the week one games (link).

But hey, you say, I'm a REAL fanatic -- I need plenty more to go on for my football fix!

Okay, gotcha covered:

The 2010 Big South MEDIA GUIDE

This week's football coaches teleconference

This week's Royal Purple Round-Up

...and the mother ship for all possible things Big South Football, fresh off the assembly line for the 2010 season:

Whew -- that should be enough to get you connected & get going for Opening Weekend... at least I hope so.

As alluded to above, we have a new regular highlight package for you as part of our BSN fall programming. Be sure to check out our new feature on the Big South Network: the Big South Super7 -- here's a link to the first edition (since Blogger is fighting back on embedding the video here for you, darn it...)

Enjoy the games, everybody -- and have a fun/safe/happy Labor Day Weekend!