Image courtesy of Meridix website
The state’s youth hockey programs recently returned to competition, but fans wanting to watch the games have been left in the cold.
Guidelines issued by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) that allowed for competitions to restart also prevent spectators from sitting in the stands at rinks.
The Colorado Amateur Hockey Association (CAHA), Colorado Avalanche and Toyota have partnered with a second video streaming service, Meridix, to provide viewing options to warm the hearts of fans who want to watch games remotely. The partnership is part of the Rink Aid, an initiative supported by the Hard Hat Heroes program, with a goal of aiding players, coaches and clubs as they transition to playing games after a months-long layoff.
Meridix is a user-friendly video streaming service that allows teams to film and live stream games with a smartphone or tablet. Meridix also supports broadcast operations that include camcorders to mid-range and professional cameras, color commentary, play-by-play and multi-camera productions. All of the streams, including those from past games, are located on a single website.
Meridix founder Tyler Feret said his video streaming service offers the flexibility needed to address challenges that sometimes accompany the streaming of amateur sports, such as weak WiFi connectivity, bad camera positions or a lack of access to electrical outlets.
“We can make it easy to use for everybody — it doesn't have to be a big investment [financially],” Feret said. “We’ve really customized our system to be extremely well fit for the users that it serves at any level.”
Once a team requests an account with Meridix, a team-specific channel is created on a landing page dedicated to CAHA-affiliated teams and co.hockey. Each stream will have its own link that can be shared via email, social media or text message, and game streams will be hosted on their respective channel, creating an organized hub for all video content. Video streams can also be found by searching on Meridix’s website, and fans can use smartphones, tablets, computers and smart TVs to watch live and archived content. Teams will select their own videographers who operate the cameras at games.
Meridix provides an experience that is more than just watching streams. Viewers can engage with each other using a comments feed attached to each game stream, while team accounts offer interactive options such as polls, sharing photos and publishing news updates. Meridix has full details of its features, frequently asked questions and other support services available on its website.
Each stream allows for an unlimited number of viewers and costs $20. Viewers will not need to pay the fee upfront because teams or individuals will be billed by CAHA for each event streamed, said CAHA President Randy Kanai, adding that teams and associations will independently work out payment options.
CAHA and the Avalanche fostered the relationship with Meridix and MVPCast, the organization’s other streaming video partner, to offer diverse video streaming options for youth hockey associations and fans.
Meridix, based in Chicago, has hosted more than 150,000 sporting and other event streams from the youth level to the professional stage. The company already launched streaming services for several high school hockey programs in Minnesota and are beginning to work with teams in Colorado, recently streaming a Colorado Prep Hockey League game between Cherry Creek and Fort Collins.
MVPCast is a monthly subscription video streaming service that includes coaching tools and the ability for players to create their own highlight reels from the streamed games. Meridix offers a pay-per-use model that only covers the one-time live stream while also allowing streams to be archived and downloaded for an additional cost.
Kanai said he chose to work with both video streaming providers because of the ability they offer to keep videos organized and easily accessible, and because both provide details other streaming services don’t: a game tracker and score overlay.
These value-added options make Meridix and MVPCast viable options for watching games even after fans are allowed back into rinks.
“Even once we get past this, there’s still going to be relatives, scouts, coaches, colleges that are going to want to have the ability to see these games,” Kanai said.
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