LSU is set to follow in the footsteps of other schools and launch a subscription-based streaming service that will be called ‘LSU GOLD’. Seeing the success of what Arkansas has done with its own streaming service within the SEC, this could end up being a huge success for the Tigers athletic department.
The new service is scheduled to launch on August 1st and will be available on all devices, including ROKU and Apple TV. The new platform will be highlighted by an all-access documentary following head football coach Brian Kelly. The football program has been following Kelly around since his arrival in Baton Rouge back in December.
Other schools to create a streaming service like LSU’s include Clemson, Notre Dame and Oklahoma State
For $8.99 a month, fans will have access to a daily podcast that covers all sports on campus, while also showcasing a ‘film room’ type show that brings in current and former athletes to breakdown games and key plays around LSU Athletics.
It’s all about connecting the fans to each team and highlighting the stories involving different players, bringing a behind-the-scenes look at each sport.
“Through the launch of our subscription content network, LSU GOLD, and the convergence of our creative talents in South Stadium Productions, LSU Athletics is taking the next step to ensure we continue to lead the nation in innovative, engaging storytelling,” said Director of Athletics Scott Woodward. “We are excited to offer our fans a subscription service to connect them closer to the teams they love, and we are confident the team we are assembling and the infrastructure we are building will help us further engage the most passionate fans in the country and take the already-iconic LSU brand to new heights.”
Arkansas has done something similar with its own streaming service the last few years. The Razorbacks Subscription based network is called ‘Hogs +’ and features behind-the-scenes access, interviews, documentaries, features, archived games, and plenty more, including shows centered around Sam Pittman.
The Arkansas streaming service costs $7.99 per month, just a dollar less than what LSU is offering. One of the biggest influences for these streaming services that are now coming to light is how much money is being invested into production companies on college campuses. South Stadium Productions is a cohesive effort within the digital offices at LSU, combining video, photo, graphic design, and social media departments to bring to life these projects. If you’ve paid attention to the LSU creative team over the last few years, you have most certainly seen some of the best work in college athletics.
Who could forget the incredible footage that was shot of Joe Burrow’s last entrance into Tiger Stadium in 2019?
Joe Burrow's entrance on senior night is all of the goosebumps ✊✊ @Joe_Burrow10
— The Checkdown (@thecheckdown) December 1, 2019
The LSU video department won multiple awards in 2020.
We are at a time in in college sports where putting more money into production companies on campus has ended up paying off in multiple ways. From in-game video to recruiting weekends, the work of these individuals behind the camera is becoming more prevalent. Though they haven’t launched a streaming service, Tennessee has ‘VFL Films’ which puts out podcasts with athletes and coaches, while also handles any type of video production needed, whether it be a hype video or a sit-down with a coach. You can hear some of their work with a podcast called ‘The Slice’, which is usually hosted by Kasey Funderburg.
The SEC Network does periodically provide monetary support to schools for upgrades in production rooms, cameras and other equipment. Stipends are also given to schools for producing linear events for the network as well. But when the SEC cuts each school a check every year, it’s up to the school to decide how much money, if any, goes to the digital media departments, according to an SEC official.
In talking with multiple folks around the country that are involved in digital companies on a college campus, the future could end up bringing even more schools to the streaming service game. The money is there for these schools to start or continue funding production companies and their value continues to rise.
One SEC digital content creator had this to say about the growth and money invested in some of the athletic departments around the conference for digital production.
“You can look at every twitter or Instagram account in college athletics and find some tremendous work being done. But if you look really close at the bigger schools, it’s easy to notice how much money is being invested, just by looking at a video. The camera work is phenomenal at some of these schools, and it’s most certainly not cheap. Now, get a few thousand people to invest money into the product on a yearly basis and we’ll continue to see more access. It’s all about recruiting, and getting your school trending on social media. Giving fans a longer peek behind the curtain will benefit everyone in the long run.”
The overall benefit of these streaming services will be felt in the long run, especially with the SEC set to begin its new contract with ESPN in 2024. The more money that is being distributed on a yearly basis will only help fund these departments even further. But having them already bringing in fantastic content will pay off for the viewers at home.
The standard is being set at each school, with the bar being raised every time another school puts out a video that catches your eye for a few seconds or minutes.
Let the digital media battle continue.