By Sara Tischauser
Trying to make sure all fans can watch the local sporting events at Seymour is important and the Seymour Community School District is doing what it can to make the viewing experience more fan accessible.
Ryan Spaulding, Seymour activities director, said in the past couple of years they have come up with ways to make the Seymour home sporting events accessible to more fan.
“It wasn’t as if several years ago we set out and said we need to make things more accessible but we certainly have,” Spaulding said.
He said they realized that the bleachers at Thunder Stadium are slippery when wet and looked at ways to help with that. To help with this Spaulding said rails were put in at the stadium field bleachers in June 2018.
Spaulding said the stadium field is utilized by boys’ soccer, girls’ soccer and football and the railings will help fans for all of those sports more safely make their way up the bleachers.
The bleachers at the stadium field were not the only bleachers that would benefit from railings.
“We at the same time started looking into what we could do with the Field House,” Spaulding said. “Now at the Field House we don’t have the element of water making it slippery but we do have more rows and whether it just be a better vantage point at the top or the top row just has a back rest for some, there are some individuals that enjoy going up that many rows.”
However, the Field House bleachers had no type of railing to help provide assistance to those fans climbing the bleachers.
“Our bleachers the way they are set up we learned that rows were not wide enough to fit what the requirements are in order to install a rail,” Spaulding said. “We were a little short. That took a little bit more looking into. What we ultimately did this summer was widen the rows enough so that we could install handrails and now make that journey up and down the bleachers a little easier for some of our fans.”
This was completed in June of this year. Both the railings at the stadium field and Field House bleachers were paid for by the district.
“Over the last two years we have done our two areas that have a large set of bleachers and host a majority of our athletic events,” Spaulding said. “Over the last two years we have made it easier and more accessible whether it be our local fans or whether it be our visiting fans.”
Now, Spaulding said the district is working on another project that will make viewing games possible for even more people. This project would be installing two cameras from the company Pixellot to allow viewing of sporting events.
“This last year I learned about a camera system that some schools are utilizing that I think is just becoming a little bit more common because of the technology and the cost of that technology is decreasing,” Spaulding said. “The ability to install cameras and have games live streamed. I’m aware of several schools in our area that have something similar.”
One of the reasons Spaulding said they are going with Pixellot is because that company already has an existing relationship with important key players in high school sports.
“They have an agreement with the National Federation of High School (NFHS) sports which also makes this attractive,” Spaulding said. “NFHS establishes all the rules for the sports so they are kind of a governing body in some ways of high school athletics and have a relationship with the WIAA therefore as well.”
One of the cameras will be installed in the Field House and the other camera will be installed at Thunder Stadium.
“One camera will be in our field house and later one out in the stadium field,” Spaulding said. “The reason one will be added later is because we will be exploring possibilities to get internet out to our press box on the stadium field and therefore make that camera operational.”
He said the camera at the Field House should be operational most of the 2019-20 school year and the stadium field camera should be operational next school year.
The cost of these cameras is being paid for by seven different support and youth groups that cover the eight different sports that are played in the Field House and stadium field.
“Ultimately that was something that was determined would be best if we could see if we had outside support groups and youth groups whose sports would utilize these cameras if they would be interested in donating towards that,” Spaulding said.
There may even be a possibility for fans to watch away games if the other school uses the same system. In addition Spaulding said all WIAA games would be viewable as well.
Anyone who wants to watch the Seymour sporting events will be able to get a subscription at https://www.nfhsnetwork.com/schools/seymour-high-school-seymour-wi. Subscriptions can be on a monthly or yearly basis. In order to view any sporting event live or after the game a subscription is necessary. However, people can watch non-sporting events without a paid subscription. Spaulding said people will still need to have a login in to the site, but they can view non-sporting events without paying. Non-sporting events that may be broadcast include Rock Ledge concerts and graduation that are held at the Field House.
Spaulding said the cameras will not only benefit fans but coaches as well.
“Our coaches have said it is not always easy to find someone whether it’s a parent or a JV player or youth player to get to come and film games,” Spaulding said.
But with these cameras all games will be filmed and can automatically be sent to the coaches who can than use the film with their student athletes.
With the technology available the cameras will be able to follow the action on the court and field.
“One of the cooler things is the technology,” Spaulding said. “The camera is an unmanned camera that uses algorithms to follow the action and even at times zoom in or zoom out.”
Spaulding said they will try to make the viewing experience through Pixellot enjoyable for those who can’t come and see the game in person.
“We will have the score integrated as well,” Spaulding said. “It would be frustrating as a fan to watch and not know what the score is.”
This could also open new opportunities for students.
“If we had students who are interested in sport’s broadcasting that is something we could look at with this system as well,” Spaulding said.
With all the changes, Spaulding said they hopefully have made the Field House and stadium field more accessible to fans and in the near future he said they will have options to make the games accessible to fans who can’t attend the games in person. Spaulding said while he hopes people will continue to come out and watch the games he hopes the livestreaming will be an option for fans who can’t attend in person.
“It is kind of a little thing [having the option to livestream] but something that I think people appreciate having the option to more easily follow some individuals and teams they care about,” Spaulding said. “For individuals that have a little less mobility hopefully we’ve made things easier for them over last two years to attend events and if they can’t attend events then watch at home.”