COVENTRY BLAZE ice hockey team has had its Internet status dramatically uplifted by four Coventry University’s students who have managed to attract nearly 100,000 views for their Cov Blaze TV channel.
The channel has over 60 videos and boasts a variety of coverage including match highlights, pre and post game interviews with Blaze team members, exclusive player cameras and coverage of the players in and around the community.
The unprecedented yet successful creation came about when the hockey club contacted the university last September about the possibility of starting incepting an online broadcast channel, and over a short period the channel has flourished.
How has a nine-month-old online TV channel with 61 uploaded videos managed to attract around 100,000 people, when no more than 3,650 people watch the home matches?
Luke Huckall spoke at the Coventry University Media festival about the success of this project: “YouTube is our main one (platform). Then we’ve got links on the Coventry Blaze channel, and we’ve found out that the Sheffield Steelers, which is a very successful ice hockey team, upload our videos onto their website as well”
The TV crew were based in a first floor room in the Ellen Terry building which was decorated with Coventry Blaze memorabilia with four TV screens showing their year’s work on match highlights, interviews and their six day tour to Italy for the Blaze’s participation in the Continental Cup earlier this year.
Much hard work has gone into making the channel the success that it is today, with the Blaze TV team spending 14 to 15 hours a day editing each home game, hence the channel’s popularity due to the unique in depth content set for a niche sport.
Luke added: “It is a lot of hard work, the only reason we’ve been successful is because us four live together. We film the games, and then we often get home and edit straight away and we’re up until 4 or 5 in the morning editing highlights that are up the next morning, so people can wake up in the morning or when they’re at work and then watch it.”
The depth of the coverage is a major attribute alongside their consistent quality, yet it came with a price according to Luke: “When we produced the documentary with about four or five cameras on one player, it took 600 minutes of footage to edit”
Despite having to sacrifice their body clocks, the group has benefited largely from the project for their future careers through the use of influential contacts.
Luke said: “The BBC reporter Geoff Foster, he’s been a pretty big help, he did commentary for our DVDs, Sky Sports broadcaster Dave Simms did a lot of commentary. The chairman of the club, his brother in law is high up in Sky Sports and he’s given us his contact details. We’ve decided we want to do sports broadcasting, but now we’ve got a big foot in the door”
Prior to their success, Luke revealed that the channel’s ratings could have panned out differently for the TV channel. “We were going to have our own website, but we thought it may be more professional than using YouTube, but YouTube is the biggest video based website in the world. So what better place to have it?”
When comparing the Coventry Blaze and their league rivals Sheffield Steelers’ ratings, Blaze’s channel viewings hold 2,000 more viewings than Sheffield’s most viewed video alone, showing the enormous achievement of the university’s four students, which is emphasised by Sheffield Steelers copying the four students’ work with their replicate website six months later.
Sadly however, the hugely popular channel is currently due to cease unless other students are willing to take over from the imminently departing students. Will anyone step up and continue this Coventry University success story.
Cov Blaze TV can be viewed by clicking here.
By Adam Manning