MOORHEAD — Corey Delorme has called Moorhead Spuds sports on the radio with Larry Knutson since 2000. Last season, while on a bus trip with the Moorhead boys hockey team, Spuds coach Jon Ammerman asked Delorme and Knutson if they had ever thought about livestreaming games on the web.
Ammerman told them he had been getting requests all the time to watch Moorhead boys hockey games.
"So I did a little research into low-cost options," Delorme said.
Delorme, a 1994 Moorhead graduate, did a test in the final regular season boys hockey game against Hill-Murray. Rick Westra, who graduated from Moorhead in 1986 and takes pictures at Moorhead sporting events, was running the team camera, so Delorme took the feed from that for the stream.
"It wasn't perfect, but it was enough to know it was viable," Delorme said.
This was the beginning of what is now SpudsTV, which currently has 24 Moorhead High School sporting events scheduled to livestream at spuds.tv for free. It's already livestreamed two girls soccer matches, one boys soccer match and three volleyball matches this season. It will broadcast this year's opening football game Thursday, Aug. 29.
Westra had thought about this venture for years, hoping it would grow into covering more than just sports. Westra and Delorme met with Knutson to discuss what they could do together. The three met with Moorhead athletic director Dean Haugo and he was on board.
"First and foremost, the fellas that are behind this are all guys that have significant involvement and impact on Moorhead activities," Haugo said. "Most importantly, we knew we had the right people taking the lead and running with this idea. That was a huge selling point.
"Where I think we're going is that high school sports are becoming so much more accessible. We want to see more than anything, that those people who aren't able to get to a game, whether a parent who has multiple kids playing at the same time or grandparent who can't make it, now they can sit on their phone and watch each of their kids compete. These guys are providing that opportunity."
Delorme did some more research, talked to some software companies and viewed demos of systems. They invested a few thousand dollars into equipment and decided to try it last spring season with baseball, softball and boys and girls lacrosse. They would do the livestream and then archive it to be replayed on the site.
The three learned with each broadcast and then pursued sponsors to cover costs.
"The support of our community has been amazing," Delorme said. "We are in the process of becoming a non-profit organization. Larry has always taught me that what we do with the radio broadcasts is for the students and fans. We are simply expanding that concept into the streaming space."
Although it's somewhat new territory in the region, the idea of high schools broadcasting events is not new to the area, seen in Fargo Shanley's Shanley TV. This idea is something Haugo believes will grow to other schools.
Haugo is hoping SpudTV will be allowed to livestream section playoffs. State tournaments will most likely be more difficult with KSTC TV in the Twin Cities owning the rights.
"What everyone doesn't know is that this is such an evolving concept. Really as far as doing it across the board across a school is relativity new, so there's a lot of new ground to be broke with the section and the state high school league," Haugo said.
Delorme, Westra and Knutson have begun involving students in the coverage of events and want to eventually run public service announcements about topics important to high school students. Eventually, they plan to create a scholarship in Knutson's name for students pursuing degrees in broadcast media.
"We don't want to own and operate SpudTV, we want it to be a service to Moorhead High School to enhance the lives in our community," Delorme said.