One thing this pandemic has shown us is that we still have a lot to learn. Lincoln High School in Sioux Falls, SD, is taking full advantage of the opportunity.
As Activities Director Joey Struwe says, implementing new technology is helping athletes, students, fans and even sponsors get through this unusual year.
“We were looking at limiting crowd sizes in our auditoriums and our gymnasiums,” he says.
“When I saw Daktronics Big Stream come up, I thought this is a way that we can provide value to our sponsors. Because people aren’t getting in to see the boards themselves in person we figured our online web streaming viewership would go up dramatically, and here was a way that we could provide our sponsors added value, and provide an experience for our student athletes that was second to none.”
They started using Big Stream for volleyball in the gymnasium, and they plan to use it for the upcoming basketball season as well. They share a football field with the other Sioux Falls schools, and they use Big Stream there as well.
Struwe says fans can have the in-game experience from their home. “You can see the game, and you can see exactly what’s on our video board. We can present those commercials that would provide for our sponsors, and the people at home can get that in-game feeling.”
Most of Lincoln’s sponsors were already in place before they started using Big Stream, and Struwe sees it as an added value for them. While sponsors are certainly seen by fewer people in person right now, they still have an audience at home.
But what about when the stands fill in the future?
Struwe thinks sponsors will continue to benefit.
“People will be back in the gym, but I still think our online viewership will stay at a level that will continue to grow so the people who were watching on the internet will be replaced by new online viewers once this is established.
“Viewership will continue to grow, so it’s easier to tell our potential sponsors, here’s the value that you’re getting now, and here’s where the value will continue to grow,” he says. “We can show them that this will grow over time.”
Lincoln High School offers a class for students who want to run the video board and create graphics that run on the display and on Big Stream. Providing those opportunities benefits students with new skills that can be used beyond high school.
“It provides them opportunities going forward, since it is the same system that’s used in almost all colleges, universities, NFL stadiums,” says Struwe. “Those kids can go to the athletic departments and say they have experience. Is there a way to get involved? It gives them a leg up on other students at the university.”
Students can also create videos to honor their fellow students. For example, they needed a way to honor the school’s state champion cross country team. They can’t do it in person, so students are developing a video featuring interviews with coaches and runners, along with a montage that’s set to music.
“We can play those things during breaks in the action,” says Struwe. “We can get those kids exposure who wouldn’t have exposure through Big Stream because they’re outdoors.”
Struwe believes they are just scratching the surface of the potential of both their video boards and Big Stream.
“The possibilities are limitless for what the students can create and what your staff can do. You can put anything you want up there.”
Hear more about how Lincoln High School is using Big Stream during the age of the pandemic on the Daktronics podcast.