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Friday, April 19, 2024

Mansfield Breaks Out Of Caveman Mode To Enter The Modern Livestream World


Sports have always captivated the minds of people. Fans show up by the thousands to sporting events all over the world to catch a glimpse of their team in action. It was in Greece that sports were first instituted formally, with the first Olympic Games recorded in 776 BCE in Olympia. But not everyone could make of the games back then due to the distance. Who knows, maybe their sandals broke, or the creek raised too high to get to the first Olympics. Cue sports media. Sports journalism/media has been traced back to 850 BCE and has been going strong ever since. The first voice broadcast of a sporting event over the radio took place on April 11th, 1921, covering a 10-round boxing match between Johnny Dundee and Johnny Ray. The United States’ first televised sporting event was aired showing a college baseball game between the Columbia Lions and Princeton Tigers on May 17th, 1939. One of the first live sporting events through the internet in the United States to be streamed was the Ohio State spring football game in 2001. With technology screaming by at breakneck speeds, it would only be a matter of time before small-town USA was able to livestream games. That time finally came for Mansfield athletics in late 2023 when Middle School Principal and boys basketball Head Coach, Joshua Brown, set up the Mansfield Tigers Network on YouTube.

For years while many other schools in the area were covering their teams with livestreaming and radio broadcasting of events, Mansfield remained in the Stone Age of modern technology. Fans would have to be at the games themselves, hear about them from word of mouth, or hope that they could catch an extremely rare glimpse of their Tigers and Lady Tigers on the 10:00pm news. But when the Mansfield Tigers football team made it to the second round of the 2023 State Playoffs, Coach Brown decided that the Tiger faithful who couldn’t make the four-hour trip to Hoxie on Friday, November 17th deserved to watch their team. The initial success of the Mansfield vs Hoxie livestream was astounding as viewers poured in online to watch the game. People from all over the state, country, and yes, even the world tuned in to watch the Tigers take on the Hoxie Mustangs. Coach Brown and High School Principal, Justin Bond were the color commentators for the wild matchup that had an even wilder finish. But Brown did not want this to be a one and done. To achieve the channel being a permanent fixture, Brown and company needed one thousand subscribers to the Mansfield Tigers Network YouTube page. It took just a couple of days for that goal to be met giving the Mansfield Tigers athletic program and their fans something to be proud of.

Coach Brown and Mr. Bond color commentated for the remainder of the Tigers historic playoff run, but when basketball season rolled around, Brown had to step away to tend to his basketball program. Losing commentary for basketball season would have left Mansfield with, well, just plain ol’ bland video. Enter Mansfield alum and teacher, Jordan Martin. Martin was a 2003 graduate and old-school baller from back in the day who bled Tiger red from day one. With his wealth of knowledge on the game of basketball and quick-witted, smooth-talking skills over the microphone, Martin was the perfect fit to continue the Mansfield Tigers Network into the basketball season. Being a teacher at Mansfield High School and pastor at Palestine Baptist Church, Martin had no problem speaking to the public and even put his own twist to how he calls the games. Although he is great at what he does, Martin brings in a guest now and then during some of his game casts to talk about the current game as well as other things. Mansfield Head Football Coach, Whit Overton, was put on the preverbal hot seat first while the voice of the Tigers, Travis Pettus, was invited to join Martin in the booth for another Tigers game. Needless to say, the transition from Brown and Bond during football season to Martin in basketball season has been effective and flawless. Of course, there can always be issues with livestreaming. Mansfield even has those covered though with numerous filming volunteers, tech volunteers, and even backup commentators. Football Coaches, Whit Overton and Layton Robinson stepped in to fill Martin’s shoes for a basketball game when Martin was unable to attend.

As it was famously sung as The Jefferson’s theme song, the Mansfield Tigers are “movin’ on up” into the modern technological world. Fans from all over have tuned in to use Mansfield’s YouTube Network. Some may think that this would affect the number of bodies in the stands, but it most definitely has not. Tigers and Lady Tigers fans still pour in to both home and away games as usual, but it’s those who have a legit reason for not making the games that benefit the most. Parents and fans whose shifts go past opening kickoffs or tipoffs, those who can’t make it out due to illness, and folks who live far away but remain a true Tiger at heart, those are the folks who have rightfully earned the use of this media platform. With 1.5 thousand subscribers, a great color commentary cast, and the Mansfield Athletics program as a whole succeeding by leaps and bounds, the Mansfield Tigers Network has been a great addition to the goal of spreading Tiger Pride worldwide.

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