Fans of the Madison Mallards who can't make it out to the Duck Pond will be able to watch each home game thanks to a new webcasting feature on livemallardsbaseball.com.
Starting with the opener against the Eau Claire Express on Thursday, May 31, and concluding, ideally, with the Northwoods League Championship series, fans can catch every ball, strike and bat-spin race on the web. "We'll be doing a dry run of the system soon," says Mallards spokesperson Jerrad Radocay, who issued a press release on Monday about the team's new online venture.
Working with TDS, Sonic Foundry, and the Madison Media Institute, the club will be creating a live feed of the game as it unfolds. Shot with three cameras -- one in the press box and one in each dugout -- and edited on the spot, the footage will simultaneously be fed to 14 new LCD TVs set up around the stadium as well as the website. "Fans will need a 500kbps or better Internet connection along with the installation of Windows Media Player to run the application," notes Radocay in the release.
"We'll start shooting around game time," he explains, with no commercials planned for the webcast. Rather, the cameras will keep rolling through the games' promotional events, which this year include appearances by Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca of Star Wars fame), Emmannuel Lewis, William "The Refrigerator" Perry, and MLB retirees including Rollie Fingers, Dave Kingman, Bill Lee, and Vida Blue.
Radocay notes that the team is still working on its system, and is not yet able to pinpoint its eventual bandwidth capacity should these webcasts prove to be a hit. "From the first day on, we'll be working on it as it goes," he says.
The games will not be archived for subsequent viewing. Their highlights will be, though. "We're hoping to cut the footage of the game every night and create a highlights package," says Radocay. These will be available for viewing through the season. The team is also planning on experimenting with online social video networks, and may upload these highlights packages to YouTube or other platforms to expand their online viewership.
Ultimately, this could prove to be yet another savvy move by a team that's shown how to make baseball work in Madison.