This month, the University of Connecticut will launch its own sports-centric streaming platform, offering original and exclusive content to fans in the form of features, live events, profiles, coaches’ shows, highlights and other on-demand content.
UConn+ will be widely available on streaming services such as Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV and Roku, and accessible via the UConn mobile app and uconnhuskies.com.
The new service, which according to Sports Video Group News will be a first-of-its-kind in college athletics to combine live and original content, is expected to launch in late November with additional features being rolled out thereafter.
“UConn+ has the potential to elevate the visibility of UConn Athletics, and I’m grateful for our overarching relationship with LEARFIELD, in which its LEARFIELD Studios and SIDEARM Sports businesses can help us further expand our reach and promote the excellence of our student-athletes, coaches, and the University of Connecticut,” said UConn athletic director David Benedict, as reported by SVG News. “UConn already boasts championship programs and provides top-quality experiences in state-of-the-art venues for fans and student-athletes alike. With UConn+, we’re adding the capability to engage UConn Nation with exclusive feature content and live sports like never before. This platform will only strengthen our global brand and create more opportunities for success.”
According to SVG News, UConn will develop much of the programming — including coaches’ shows, press conferences and other mini-features — internally. LEARFIELD Studios has placed production staff on the ground in Storrs supported by a central production team.
“We’re proud of our longtime relationship with UConn and recognize the tremendous added value that UConn+ will bring to Husky fans and to our corporate partners,” said Tom Murphy, general manager for LEARFIELD’s UConn Sports Properties. “The sponsors who look to align their brand with the UConn Huskies’ brand soon will have a new platform to creatively connect with fans 24/7/365.”
The dedicated crew will produce more in-depth feature programs, including content geared toward showcasing the various aspects of life as a student-athlete on campus. Examples include THE BREAKDOWN, a five-part series about 2022 UConn football training camp, and THE STANDARD, a new miniseries that offers an inside look at UConn women’s basketball.
A 24/7 real-time programming stream of content is also planned for possible development, SVG News reported.
“UConn+ can be a game-changer for the university,” said UConn vice president for communications Tysen Kendig, who began exploration of a digital sports network for UConn athletics in 2021. “Content is unquestionably king, and our audiences increasingly have a thirst for more video, more features and more multimodal, on-demand ways to consume it. UConn+ is changing the way we produce content in-house, and the model we’ve developed in partnership with LEARFIELD and SIDEARM leverages their considerable assets and expertise to give UConn Nation unprecedented content and access to Husky athletics and the greater university.
“Few other major universities in the country competing at the highest level of Division I athletics own the rights and have the wherewithal to produce and deliver a majority of its own live sports content. While this landscape is constantly shifting, we are now better positioned to meet the demands of our audiences and have the means to make most of our home Olympic sports and related content across all of our 20 programs directly available to more people than ever before.”
UConn+, which will also offer non-sports programming, provides increased experiential learning opportunities for UConn students, who will have the chance to earn academic credit under faculty supervision in documentary film production, motion graphic design, and other areas geared toward enhancing program options.
“We were thrilled to help provide a solution for UConn athletics when they approached us about this endeavor,” said Anne D’Alleva, UConn’s interim provost and dean of the School of Fine Arts. “Our DMD students have been highly sought for years by the likes of NBC Sports, ESPN, and other mainstream media outlets because of the exceptionally high quality of our digital media academic program. UConn+ and this new creative agency will provide additional real-world experience right here on campus, and has generated great excitement among our students and faculty — all of whom enthusiastically bleed blue.”
“Athletics is not just a tremendous point of pride for our community, it’s a front porch that helps bring people into the front door of this amazing university,” Kendig told SVG News.. “UConn+ gives us another vehicle for shining a light on the academic and research champions here that positively impact Connecticut and the human condition. The ideas are limitless, and we believe this endeavor has great potential to grow over time.”