University of San Francisco point guard Frankie Ferrari dribbles the ball up court against Harvard on Nov. 21, 2018, a game that was televised on TheW.tv, part of the Stadium network. (Ryan Gorcey / S.F. Examiner)

USF Dons athletics are now part of Stadium, a bold, new sports network

By Jim Williams

Special to S.F. Examiner

The University of San Francisco Dons and their fellow members of the West Coast Conference have a bold, new and free television partner. Stadium gives the WCC a real national TV partner and my guest on Stream On with Jim Williams, this week is CEO Jason Coyle who is happy to have the conference as a partner.

“We are so pleased with our partnership with the West Coast Conference,” Coyle said. “They have been with us from the start. Everyone knows that they have some of the best basketball teams in the country, but frankly, the teams in the WCC are competitive in both men’s and women’s sports all across the board.”

Built through the merging of 120 Sports’ live studio operations, Silver Chalice’s Campus Insiders’ live collegiate games and Sinclair Broadcasting’s American Sports Network’s (ASN) distribution and live collegiate games, Stadium emerged in 2017 as a 24-7 network based out of Chicago. Over the last two years, BAMTech, the NHL, the PGA TOUR and Meredith Corp have invested in the network.

“Our end goal is to be the most widely distributed and available sports network in America, far surpassing the 85 million in cable,” Coyle said. “Everyone is going behind a paywall; we’re going the exact opposite direction.”

Stadium works in concert with TheW.tv, the conference’s own digital network that covers a large number of events, including this weekend’s baseball matchups as well as the conference’s beach volleyball tournament, as part of their more than 100 events offered free of charge by the network.

This past men’s basketball season, 18 Dons men’s basketball games were available on TheW.tv, while the women’s team had 22 of their 31 games broadcast on the platform. USF baseball gets to show off its Benedetti Diamond renovations thanks to its 38 games on TheW.tv, games which feature Cal and Stanford, along with Sacramento State and Gonzaga.

While local programs like the Golden Bears and Cardinal have the benefit of the Pac-12 Network to go along with major network exposure, Stadium has allowed fans of the smaller, local schools like San Francisco to reach not only its alumni base, but a broader audience.

It’s how fans of USF basketball can watch the Dons on their laptops when they’re not playing on ESPN against marquee teams like Gonzaga. It’s how fans can watch the Dons at Benedetti Diamond even if they can’t make it into The City.

Some of those events can be seen on digital channel KMAX-TV 31.4, which is carried on cable systems throughout the greater Bay Area.

Along with TheW.tv, they have programming deals with the Mountain West Conference, Conference USA, the Patriot League and the Atlantic 10. Coyle was very pleased with his portfolio content and that he has an abundance of riches.

“We have a number of games to choose from and the great part of our job is to give our partners quality productions. I am also pleased that we have so many platforms that we can offer fans so no matter where they are you will be able to follow your team if they are playing on one of our networks.”

Stadium has built a strong network without the benefit of cable or pay television deals and they are not a subscription service. They use a combination of over the air broadcast stations and streaming services. They also have done distribution deals with social media outlets Twitch, Twitter and Facebook, with more than 250 live events streaming across those widely watched platforms.

Stadium starts with the Sinclair Broadcast Group that owns more than 200 television stations nationwide, but also has deals with free streaming services Pluto TV, The Roku Channel, STIRR, and also via FireTV, Apple TV, Chromecast and XBOX Sling TV. Stadium has its own app, as well as the STIRR app and the Pluto TV app, available at either the App Store or on the Google Play Store.

USF games — live and replays — are available for streaming on the Roku app, and on FireTV, plus the Stadium app has access to the latest news on all the professional Bay Area teams. All those streaming events mean you can watch the Dons on your phone or tablet, and WatchStadium.com has all the USF events available on your desktop.

Stadium’s Chicago studios are very busy with some entertaining offerings on not just college content but plenty of programming on MLB, NFL, NBA and NHL and other professional sports shows.

So, Giants, A’s, 49ers, Raiders, Warriors and Sharks fans can find some interesting takes on their teams as well.

Hear the complete interview with Coyle on this week’s edition of Stream On with Jim Williams. You can get the podcast at iTunes, Google Play or wherever you find your podcasts.

Editor’s note – here is where you find the complete guide to all the USF events on Stadium. https://watchstadium.com/network/wcc-network/

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