Today is Thursday, March 21, 2019. Over the past 19 days, Midco Sports Network has broadcast a combined 38 basketball and hockey games, stretching from the NSIC Tournament to the Summit League Tournament to the South Dakota Varsity Hockey Tournament. It has been an incredibly long, yet rewarding experience for each and every member of our crew. So while the madness of the Big Dance is just starting, our madness at Midco Sports Network is starting to wind down.
We will still be broadcasting some baseball, softball and other spring sports in the coming weeks and months. But this is also the time where, quite frankly, everyone at our network kind of gets to take a deep breath. I’ve often said (and people around the network will agree) that the beginning of March is our "Super Bowl." Two basketball tournaments and one hockey tournament in the span of less than three weeks is what we all prepare for during the season.
It's Here Already?
Without fail, every single year, that stretch sneaks up on us. It’s both simultaneously not that far away and, at the same time, a long way off. It’s "it'll be here sooner than you think," yet also "more than a month out." I have no idea if that makes sense, but as we go through the cold, snowy and icy trek outside, we’re gliding through basketball and hockey season inside arenas throughout the Tri-State area. Games and weeks start to blend together and then, all of a sudden, it’s just done.
It’s a weird feeling, honestly. This is the seventh March Madness I’ve been a part of, and in the immediate aftermath, there’s a sense of both accomplishment and relief. Sometimes you hope there’s another tournament the very next week, and sometimes you just want to sleep for days! But I think those competing thoughts encapsulate why, in the end, we love this time at our network.
We Do What We Love
Midco Sports Network doesn’t pretend to be ESPN, and we never will. Believe me, there’s nothing wrong with ESPN, but our goals are different. We know our area and, quite simply, our objective is to present the best live, local sports coverage. Period. For the past two seasons (2017-18 and 2018-19), we have increased our live game schedule and broadcast more than 200+ live events.
It takes a ton of work, from scheduling the events themselves with the schools, to assigning Midco employees and freelancers positions on our crew, to setting up our equipment, to actually broadcasting the games. For normal games, there’s a crew of around 20-25 people. You can double that for all of our tournament coverage. From engineers to graphics to production to audio to on-air talent, our crew is similar to a sports team. The great ones all have players that understand their roles and do them well each and every time.
When you have that cohesion, it makes the job that much more rewarding! And while we’re all proud of what we do internally, when we hear comments from our viewers, it fuels us even more. I can’t tell you the number of people that have come up to us in Sioux Falls and elsewhere to tell us they enjoyed our coverage. It lets us know people are watching and, more importantly, people care.
As much as we know how hard we work inside the network, the reality is we wouldn’t exist without a solid and appreciative audience that continues to come back to us time and time again. Our numbers reflect that. While I won’t go into the minutiae of our ratings, we’re growing, and we will continue to grow as long as you continue to watch. And for that, I thank all of you loyal viewers for continuing to tune in!
Let's Keep This Train Moving
And therein lies the duality of the past three weeks. Our ratings are good, but we want to do better! We did a lot of great work, but how can we do even more? We provided a clean presentation with useful graphics and information, but how can we make it even more precise?
Right now is the longest time before more tournament coverage on our network. We’ll have meetings in the coming days and weeks about what went right, what went wrong, what we can improve on, etc. And honestly, at that point, we’ll start thinking about the 2019-2020 season. The excitement and the anticipation starts all over again. I know it’s more than 11 months out, but it’ll be here sooner than you think!