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Hoosiers Get $5 Million Media Center From Mark Cuban

BLOOMINGTON, IND.—IU Athletics has received a $5 million gift from IU alumnus Mark Cuban to create a student-focused video, broadcasting and technology center, Indiana University President Michael A. McRobbie announced. (McRobbie is pictured with Cuban, left.) The facility will be equipped with 3D broadcast and replay, virtual reality, and 3D virtual studio technologies.

The center will be named the Mark Cuban Center for Sports Media and Technology when it becomes fully operational following the completed renovations at Assembly Hall in the spring of 2017.

Housed in the west side of the future Simon-Skjodt Assembly Hall, the Mark Cuban Center for Sports Media and Technology will partner with academic units on campus to provide opportunities for students in various media and technology disciplines by allowing them to use new technology and equipment. IU students will be able to produce a wide variety of media content for IU Athletics, including virtual-reality videos, athlete instruction, recruiting videos and social media, as well as video-board displays, team-specific shows and live event broadcasts for all 24 IU sports.

IU Athletics will engage the broader campus community in providing student personnel and/or curriculum to support the efforts of the center. This will be done with virtual reality, gaming, studio production, game-day video production, motion and broadcast graphics, promotional location production, reporting and play-by-play, and game live casting.

IU Athletics has enlisted support for the center from The Media School, IU Radio TV Services, the School of Informatics and Computing, and the Advanced Visualization Lab. Adhering to Cuban’s vision, the center will be open source and student-driven to help develop, in his words, “the type of students you want to hire.”

IU Athletics said it will be the first college athletic department to use freeD from Replay Technologies. This technology will be installed in both Assembly Hall and Memorial Stadium this summer to give IU fans a 3D video-board experience, as well as enabling IU to create highlight and recruiting videos. FreeD allows for the capturing of almost an infinite scene. The camera angles are limitless, giving the director new angles that go not only around the action but above it, and even in-between the players.

IU Athletics said it also will be one of the first athletic departments in the country “to substantially use virtual reality.” IU Athletics will not be outsourcing its content and video. In collaboration with students and faculty on campus, IU Athletics will independently create virtual-reality content for use in athlete instruction and in-venue fan experience, and to interact with fans on the Internet and social media.

IU Athletics will house virtual studios from Orad Hi-Tec Systems, provider of real-time 3D video graphic technology, including sports production and enhancement, special events, virtual studios and virtual advertisement. IU said its athletic department will be the first in the country to purchase and house an Orad virtual studio, and the technology will be used to enhance video-board elements and athlete and coach interviews, and for pregame/halftime/postgame shows for live event streams. 

Substantial investments in cameras, lighting kits, audio-recording technology, video-editing stations and broadcast equipment will also be included in the center. Students will have 24-hour access to parts of the facility.

The number of live streams of events and competitions, using all-student crews and broadcasters, will also be greatly expanded, giving all IU teams increased coverage that is beneficial in recruiting. The Orad virtual studio and freeD will be used to accentuate and further professionalize these broadcasts.

Originally from Pittsburgh, Cuban earned a Bachelor of Science in management and administration from the Kelley School of Business in 1981. After graduating from Indiana University, he relocated to Dallas, where he founded a computer consulting service, MicroSolutions, which he later sold to CompuServe in 1990 for $6 million.

In 1995, Cuban and longtime friend Todd Wagner came up with Internet-based technoogy to listen to Hoosiers basketball games in Texas. That solution was Broadcast.com—streaming audio over the Internet. Within four years, Broadcast.com (then Audionet) was sold to Yahoo! for $5.6 billion.