SHERIDAN — New cameras at Sheridan High School will allow fans of the Broncs and Lady Broncs to watch games live on the internet at a small cost.
This fall, Sheridan will join an increasing list of Wyoming schools to offer live streams of sports occurring at the high school’s main gymnasium or Homer Scott Field. The SHS booster club purchased two cameras at a total cost of $8,500 to offer an additional option for supporters who can’t attend a game in-person.
SHS assistant activities director Kasey Garnhart said the school has had conversations about purchasing cameras ever since high schools in Cheyenne installed some about two years ago.
SHS Booster Club Co-President Everett McGlothlin said serious discussion about purchasing the cameras began in the spring.
“It’s a no-brainer,” McGlothlin said. “There are people that can’t attend athletic activities, and this is a way for the booster club to support the community … If people don’t want to travel to Rock Springs or Casper or wherever, they can access the various athletic games without traveling.”
No camera operator is needed for the two cylindrical cameras that come with four waterproof lenses. The cameras follow the ball to different parts of the court or field when players move back and forth. The cameras also create highlights to view after games, and SHS teams can utilize the footage to study film on opponents if they choose.
The video company Pixellot designed the cameras and the games are live-streamed through the National Federation of State High School Associations. Events can be streamed on a computer, tablet or phone. Select games are archived as well.
The scoreboard can connect to the camera, so the score will show up on the bottom of the screen. An announcer can also tie-in to the live feed for play-by-play.
The camera in the main gym hangs from the edge of the crows nest area above the bleachers and will allow for live streams of nearly all levels of basketball and volleyball. The gym camera can also be used for non-athletic events like graduation. The second camera is perched on the top of the press box at Homer Scott Field and will record all levels of football, soccer and track.
Interested viewers can purchase a monthly subscription through NFHS for $9.95, seasonal subscription for $30 or annual subscription for $60. Subscribers can watch games streamed by any school that uses the NFHS system. All of the schools in the 4A East conference have the cameras, so the vast majority of Sheridan road games — and now home games — will be available to watch.
Garnhart doesn’t think the additional option will detract much from live attendance.
“We believe we’ll (still) have a lot of people at our events,” Garnhart said. “You can’t really replace that personal touch you get when you’re at an actual sporting event. It’s not the same when you’re watching it through a screen.”
Moreover, there are always concerns about technology and connectivity issues with the cameras, but that is the only possible roadblock Garnhart foresees.
“There will be a little bit of troubleshooting as we start up, but after seeing the process for some of these other schools and how well it’s worked for them, we don’t see any major issues,” Garnhart said.
As the fall sports season gets underway later this month, the new technology has the potential to bring SHS athletics to a wider audience.