Regardless of when your season starts, livestream­ing your football games will practically be a requirement this school year. Learn how easy it is to connect your fans and raise funds with livestream­ing — without breaking your budget.

For an increasing number of teams, their families and their fans, Friday night football will look a lot different this school year. There will be challenges along the way, including staying connected. That’s where livestreaming comes in. 

Your football families and fans can still cheer on their favorite team, even if they can’t fill the stands. Plus your team has the option to raise funds through your streams (we’ll get to that later). 

We know it may seem daunting to pull off, but we’ve put together a very simple process for you to follow. There’s no need for an expensive third-party streaming service—you can probably set up your football team’s livestream with hardware you already have. We’ll explain how.

1. Use Your Camera Setup

    However you record, there’s no reason to change it—you can use the same setup to livestream. If you don’t have someone assigned to own the recording process from start to finish, now’s the time to find that student-athlete or assistant.

    Top Pick: iPads in the Press Box

    Dedicate an iPad or iPhone to livestream your games from your press box. With someone assigned to livestreaming duties, they can ensure your angle captures the field of play. But consider having them capture footage off the field too, like pregame, halftime, and (if victorious) postgame celebrations. These moments will give your fans an even better experience from afar. Using iPads also affords the option of using a cellular connection for most plans. If cellular connection is not available, you will need to connect to your stadiums WiFi or use a hotspot.

    Plan B: Camera + Adapter 

    You could also use a standard digital camera. To livestream, you’ll need to send your camera feed to a computer. A few extra supplies, like a Blackmagic Design UltraStudio Mini Recorder and an Apple Thunderbolt 3 Male to Thunderbolt 2 Female Adapter, will get the job done. And bonus—you’ll have more control of audio and visual elements in-game. You’ll also need Wi-Fi in your press box for this setup.

    2. Pick Your Streaming Platform

      Why not stick with a platform that you and your fans are familiar with? Especially if your football team has a good follower base. 

      Top Pick: Facebook

      A lot of football teams already use a combination of Facebook and Twitter to keep fans up to date. Now all those years of updates are going to pay off. But even if your team is new to social media, don’t worry—Facebook doesn’t require a set amount of followers to start livestreaming.

      We’ve put together a quick start guide on how to livestream with Facebook. In less than 10 steps, you’ll be ready to stream.

      Plan B: Periscope or Twitch

      These are great third-party streaming alternatives if you have experience using them. Both Periscope and Twitch specialize in livestreaming and are optimized for mobile recording devices. Both options have an easy process to get started.

      Alternates: YouTube or Blueframe

      If you’ve decided to record with a camera and adapters, YouTube is a great option. But if you’re recording with a mobile device, YouTube requires a minimum of 1,000 channel subscribers to livestream. Learn more about how to stream with YouTube

      Hudl’s partnership with BlueFrame is another option to level up your livestreaming experience. BlueFrame offers a pay-per-view revenue share opportunity for your school when streaming with a camera to their software.

      3. Fundraise through Your Livestream

        After you select your recording device, assign someone to own the streaming process, and choose a platform, you can decide if you want to monetize your livestreams.

        Top Pick: Digital Donations

        Even if your fans are at home, you can still bring them aspects of the game experience. Just like when they arrive at the gate prior to kickoff, you can create and distribute tickets for each game. (Only this time they’ll be digital.) 

        Use Eventbrite to offer fans the ability to sign up and commit a donation or ticket purchase for each game. Bonus: Eventbrite has one of the lowest fees compared to market alternatives. 

        During the game, you could use a payment processing platform you’re already familiar with. PayPal offers a service called Money Pool that would assign your team a shareable link to be used for group donations. There’s also GoFundMe or similar low-fee alternatives.

        Fan engagement is important. Here are some ways to increase your revenue potential before, during and after your livestreams.

        • Create signage during the game: Even if your stands are empty, they can still be put to use. Place signs in areas that can be seen during your livestream to offer instructions and encouragement to donate. 
        • Compete on and off the field: Your fans are competitors too! Try having contests with with your biggest rivals on the field to see who can raise the most.
        • Giveaways from home: Lots of crowdfunding platforms offer incentives for donations, including giveaways. This is a great way to get some team merch in the hands of fans. 
        Plan B: Sponsorships 

        A tried and true method for fundraising is to acquire a sponsorship from your local community. This will ensure your team gets the funds they need without requiring your fans to donate each game. Using signage in your empty stands is an easy way to promote your sponsor. Check out our guide to selecting a local sponsor

        Here’s a few more ways to maximize your revenue with livestreaming.

        Keys to Success 

        Just like your team, your livestream setup will need a pregame walkthrough. Here’s what to remember on game day. 

        1. Set up your stream an hour or two before kickoff to prevent delays.  
        2. Execute a pregame dry run to ensure everything is running correctly. 
        3. Ask for help from your school's IT department or AV club if you run into issues.
        4. Promote your livestream a week ahead of game day to rally your fans. 
        5. Engage your fans throughout your livestream to maximize your revenue and ensure the best fan experience from home.

        Need livestreaming for a different sport? Check out our comprehensive guide to livestreaming. And don’t forget to review our resources for remote coaching