On The Air

Jhewel Felipe '18 and Sam Dintruff '18 work video boards in the Renaissance Coliseum control room. (Photo by Matt Hawkins)

Matt Hawkins
February 13, 2017

Long before the sights and sounds of Missouri Valley Conference basketball fill Carver Arena, Bradley’s Braves Vision team rushes to connect cables, test cameras, design graphics and prepare opening segments.

The students’ efforts ensure that Bradley basketball, baseball, soccer, softball and volleyball can be seen worldwide on ESPN3, the sports giant’s digital platform. In March, Bradley will be the first MVC school to broadcast indoor tennis.

“It’s exciting to be part of the team,” said sports communication major Walt Lembeck ’19, of Saint Charles, Missouri. “I never thought I’d be able to be working for a company like ESPN so soon in college.”

Braves Vision has produced Bradley athletics web broadcasts since 2000 and joined an MVC-wide ESPN partnership in 2015. The partnership gave students opportunities to learn from ESPN crews and to work with industry-standard equipment.

With the staff largely comprised of sports communication and television arts majors, game night is students’ moment to showcase talents they’ve spent hours perfecting in classrooms — much like athletes treat gametime after long hours in the gym.

The fast-paced environment introduces students to the world of live production as they run cameras, make relevant graphics and handle replay for video boards.

Students rotate among production roles; however, basketball replay duties are the most coveted because that team determines which game action and crowd reaction video is used by the online broadcast.

"The game goes by quickly because we’re so focused on watching the action from many different angles," said graphic design major Jhewel Felipe ’18. "We’re able to catch things people normally wouldn’t see, which adds to the experience.”

Though most Braves Vision staff are pursuing media careers, Felipe ’18 is finding unexpected benefits from joining the team. The Kailua, Hawaii, native was raised around soccer and joined the team to keep up her sports interests.

“It’s like I have another major because I’m getting the same skills as communication students,” she said. “I’ve learned so much that I’ll have new opportunities in the future even though I don’t think I would go into a sports production career.”

In addition to gaining professional skills, the firsthand experience gave team members a new appreciation for sports they watch on TV.

“I watch sports differently now because of Braves Vision,” said sports communication major Sam Dintruff ’18, of Lake Bluff, Illinois. “I know how everything happens, and I can often predict what visual will happen next. It’s fun being able to do that.”