For most in sports media, working for ESPN is a dream, but UMBC has made that dream a reality for several students. Through a partnership with the America East Conference, UMBC’s Department of Athletics streams many athletic events live on the online channel ESPN 3, and students make up a large part of the broadcast team.
Starting in 2016, UMBC’s Director of Athletics Tim Hall and head of athletic communications Steve Levy ’85, interdisciplinary studies, reached out to UMBC alum Eli Eisenberg ’86, interdisciplinary studies, the president of VPC (a video production company based in Owings Mills, Md.), to create a broadcast of events that met the high-standards of ESPN. However, the endeavor became much more than just a way to bring UMBC’s games to a larger audience; it also gives students first-hand experience in the broadcasting field, and at the highest level.
According to Eisenberg, UMBC and VPC’s project started with an 80-percent professional and 20-percent student makeup of workers. Behind the professionals, the students observed and took notes. As the season continued, the students eventually took over the active duties, and the professionals became the guides in the background, “giving direction, critique, and recommendations to the student staff.” A student even produced a game – women’s basketball versus New Hampshire – from the broadcast truck last season.
Meg Giunta ’16, media and communication studies, worked as a video engineer last season. Since graduating she is already a top media coordinator for Global Catholic Network.
“This opportunity we had with ESPN3 helped open a lot of doors,” she said. “To be able to sit on the truck and work every game and have the opportunity to make it my show, it was a good learning experience.”
Senior Kevin Harris worked as an audio technician last year. While working games he connected with a member of the Baltimore Ravens organization and was set to begin an internship with them this fall.
“To get your first experience with a company like ESPN, you can’t get better training than that,” he said. “Combined with VPC, it’s just a great combination to work.”
— Corey Johns ’11
Images and video by Dustin Roddy ’14, American studies