Students at Niagara University majoring in communications, sports management, and related fields have the unique and enriching opportunity to produce volleyball and basketball broadcasts on the ESPN family of networks, gaining practical experience in game-day operations. The students are taking on roles as camera operators, technical directors, assistant directors, graphics producers, video and replay operators, and sideline reporters, and working directly with ESPN staffers who oversee the broadcasts.

"We're thrilled to have our students take part in this phenomenal academic and experiential opportunity, which is very much on par with Niagara's Division I status and in line with the rich academic experience Niagara University delivers to its students," said Patrick Tutka, Ph.D., assistant professor in Niagara University's College of Hospitality & Tourism Management, which includes a sports management component.

Equipment for the broadcasts was made possible by the generosity of Bill McKnight, Niagara Class of 1966, president of Automated Petroleum and Energy Co., and his wife, Kathy, who gifted Niagara University athletics with $1 million. Niagara's athletic venues are now outfitted with three high-definition LED video boards and a video production studio in the campus's Dunleavy Hall has been renovated.

These enhancements are allowing students to leverage an immersive, elite learning experience exclusive to top-tier Division I schools. The upgraded facilities also enable showcasing in-depth, play-by-play game details and real-time instant replays--a critical component of the game-day experience at Division I facilities--and the production of high-quality content that meets the standards of major television networks like ESPN.

"It's an outstanding opportunity for students to be exposed to an environment and tools like those they'll encounter in their professional careers. Being able to see the fruition of their hard work on a major television network such as ESPN is a priceless bonus," said Tutka. "The hands-on experience students will gain from this will be invaluable."

For the fall season, all of NU's home volleyball and men’s and women’s home basketball games are being broadcast live on ESPN networks.