USA Wrestling live webcasts reach over half a million viewers

By TheMat.com | Sept. 21, 2010, 5:04 p.m. (ET)
Following the 2010 World Championships in Moscow, USA Wrestling completed the first year of its increased initiative to provide more live video to the wrestling community.

In addition to the over 1,900 matches, interviews and features provided by USA Wrestling's Communications & IT Departments in the past 12 months on its YouTube channel, USA Wrestling launched an aggressive coverage schedule providing free live webcasts of wrestling events nationwide in a variety of wrestling styles.

The initial video webcast kicked off the 2009 season with the Sunkist Kids International Open and Grappling World Team Trials in October and completed with a live audio webcast of the entire 2010 Wrestling World Championships last week.

In all, USA Wrestling's webcasts garnered over 314,000 unique viewers and over 530,000 total views on its live streams. All live video streams were archived on Ustream.tv, and archived views accounted for another 117,000 views.

Combined with the over 900,000 views on the YouTube channel, USA Wrestling's entire video platforms garnered over 1.5 million views.

"We are extremely proud of the quality and quantity of service that we have been able to bring to the wrestling community" said USA Wrestling Executive Director Rich Bender. "This program fits squarely with our core business objective of networking the wrestling community online. "The work that Jason Bryant has done has made the sport and especially USA Wrestling better. We will continue to be committed to this very important platform."

Throughout the course of the year, USA Wrestling's free webcasts allowed fans to watch the Chicago Cup, Preseason Nationals, Dave Schultz Memorial International, Kit Carson Cup, USAW Girls Folkstyle Nationals, Folkstyle Nationals, University Nationals in freestyle & Greco-Roman, the U.S. Open and FILA Junior National Championships, the Battle on the Intrepid and Beat the Streets Gala, FILA Junior and University World Team Trials, the U.S. World Team Trials, Cadet & Junior National Duals and the USA Wrestling Cadet & Junior Nationals.

Other supplementary events included the 30th annual Virginia Duals from Hampton, Va., and the Colorado Springs Metro Championships, an annual high school wrestling event for the Colorado Springs area high schools run by USA Wrestling.

Wrestling partners, Takedown Wrestling Media, BadgerStateWrestling.com and LighthouseWrestling.com, also provided coverage of USAW events throughout the year.

USA Wrestling has partnered with Ustream.tv, one of the world's most popular online content delivery networks for webcasting, which provided a 98 percent uptime.

In partnering with Ustream.tv, USA Wrestling's events were spotlighted on the main page of Ustream.tv, exposing the sport of wrestling to more than just wrestling fans.

"I think the exposure Ustream.tv helped give USA Wrestling is a definite step in the right direction to bring more people into the sport of wrestling" said USA Wrestling's Coordinator of Grassroots and Social Media Jason Bryant, who handles the majority of the broadcasting and production duties on the webcasts. "Ustream.tv's staff has been amazing in educating us on how to market the webcasts and provide the maximum available viewers for USA Wrestling events."

As technology improved, so did productivity. By the World Team Trials in Council Bluffs, Trackwrestling.com's scoreboard integration was added to webcasts, allowing viewers to not only get on screen scoreboards, but get real-time updates.

This was fully operational at the 2010 Cadet & Junior Nationals, where USA Wrestling provided 60 hours of live video, including all five finals and featured coverage of Mat 1.

Bryant, along with the National Wrestling Hall of Fame's Dan Gable Museum Executive Director Kyle Klingman worked in partnership with the NCAA and Web Stream Productions to webcast the NCAA Division III championship finals, the first three sessions of the NCAA Division II championships and the first day of the Division I Championships on NCAA.com.

"I'm extremely pleased with the volume of live video and the reach we've been able to give to the wrestling community" said Bryant. "We've provided free webcasts in folkstyle, freestyle, Greco-Roman, grappling and beach wrestling, and have done high school and college events in addition to our large national event schedule.

"It's been a successful endeavor and we will be adding more streams and more events in the coming years at no cost to the viewer" said Bryant. "Our relationships have blossomed with the NCAA and other non-USA wrestling event directors, which is a win-win for all wrestling fans nationwide.

"We look forward to working our webcast initiatives into our state associations and assisting them in promoting their events in a live platform within their state and nationally as a part of our increased social media presence" said Bryant.

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