Livestreaming has been a rewarding endeavor for Martin County High School — with the help of Hudl Focus. 

You don't have to tell Chuck White about the power of Hudl Focus; he’ll let you know firsthand the value it brings. 

“The Focus camera is, without question, the best investment we’ve made as an athletic department,” he said. 

White, the athletic director at Kentucky’s Martin County High School, was a bit of a local trendsetter when it came to installing his Focus Indoor camera. 

“We recommend it to other schools that come in during the season and ask about it,” he said. "It seems like it's getting so popular around here as people are exposed to it and see how worth it and convenient it is.” 

Martin County was also ahead of the curve using Focus to livestream its games. Like most schools, they were thrown for a loop by COVID-19 and sought a way to keep their program afloat. They chose to use Hudl, formerly BlueFrame Technology, to monetize their Focus livestream, helping to recoup lost gate revenue and giving fans impacted by attendance restrictions a way to watch their games.

It paid off big time. In the 2020-21 school year, Martin County brought in about $5,500 in livestreaming revenue through sponsorships and pay-per-view broadcasts. 

“We recovered thousands of dollars that we otherwise would have missed out on,” said White.

Livestreaming was less of a focus in the ‘21-22 season once attendance restrictions lifted, but White and IT Director Josh Horn (who also coaches football) are excited to show once again the value it brings this year. 

“I think this is the way sports are moving,” said Horn. “Why stream for free when you lose ticket revenue from free streaming? This revenue can help cover the needs of your program.” Even a modest sum can make a difference for schools. “If we can make $250 or $300 from football sales, we can get 6 or 7 new footballs paid for next year,” said White.

Martin County also has a new weapon in its streaming arsenal—Hudl Focus Outdoor. The indoor camera was such a success that White looked to add the outdoor version as soon as it was available. “I wanted to be on the first shipment of cameras,” he said. They installed the camera late last year, and view it as a game changer for their broadcast offerings —not to mention their coaches. 

“It’s made my life a lot easier on the tech side,” said Horn. “Trying to find someone to film is like pulling teeth.”

Helping Students Showcase their Skills

Now that Focus can capture footage from their field and gym, Martin County plans to stream as many of their games—at all sports and levels—as possible. For sports like basketball, Horn broadcasts both the junior varsity and varsity games, giving fans the option to watch multiple games for the price of one. 

“Those kids that play at the JV level, they have people that want to watch them too,” he said.

The local middle school and youth league football teams also play at the Martin County field, giving them a chance to have their games streamed for anyone who wants to watch.

Martin County gives fans another option to watch the games with a high-quality Hudl broadcast.

Livestreaming has also offered opportunities to students in the school’s journalism class. Every week Horn is assisted by students who have the chance to develop skills they might not typically get in high school. 

“We’ve had a couple of kids go on to school and focus on a broadcast degree,” said White. “It helps more than just selling tickets.” 

Journalism students enhance the broadcast by conducting pregame interviews with athletes, which White views as beneficial for all parties involved. 

“Athletes get to work on their public speaking, which is always good for things like job interviews,” he said. “This gives them the foundation so they won’t become too nervous when they have to speak publicly in the real world.”

Another Option for Fans

White doesn’t think livestreaming has any negative impact on live attendance. Instead, he approaches it as giving fans another method to tune in. 

“The people that are going to come to the games, they’re going to come no matter what,” he explained. “We’re providing the people who’d rather sit at home an opportunity to still watch the game.” 

The audience for their livestream tends to be pretty local, often extending to neighboring counties. The surrounding area is rural, made up of small towns spread miles apart from each other. One of Martin County’s biggest rivals is an hour and 45 minute drive away, for example. 

The distance between schools means that the broadcast is not only embraced by Martin County fans, but also by opposing fans who want to watch the game without making an hours-long round trip. Martin County advertises its livestream on social media and the district website, ensuring that fans who want to watch can easily find the link to purchase the broadcast.

“A lot of people don’t want to drive at the end of November when it's getting cold,” said White. “We can provide them the luxury of sitting at home on their tablet or streaming to their TV with AirPlay to watch a game. That helps us a lot if we can make money off that.” 

And with middle school and sub-varsity teams using the livestream, parents who typically work during those earlier games can catch some of the action.  

“The people that are going to come to the games, they’re going to come no matter what. We’re providing the people who’d rather sit at home an opportunity to still watch the game.” Chuck White, Athletic Director, Martin County High School

No Risk, All Reward

As a user of Hudl’s broadcasting tools for a few years now, White has some advice for schools thinking about starting their own stream. Unsurprisingly, it starts with Focus. 

“If you’re a Hudl school, getting the Focus camera should be a no-brainer. It’ll make your coaches' and teams' lives easier,” said White. 

“Outside of that, you can bring in streaming and it’s just an added option. Why wouldn’t you want to have something that’s packaged in with Hudl? It’s no cost to you as a school at all, and can just give you free revenue.” 

For programs worried about the added lift that new technology can bring, livestreaming with Focus made the transition a breeze for Martin County. 

“The integration between the two platforms is seamless,” said Horn. They connect and intertwine together beautifully. You can have the broadcast set up in 5 minutes and it's good to go, especially with the Focus camera.” 

White’s position is this: Every school equipped with Hudl Focus should be livestreaming its games. 

“Why would you as an administrator or coach, not push for a livestream?” he asked. “There's no risk, all reward.”