Nixa Students Bringing Games to Fans Stuck at Home


by Joe Hickman (for Ozarks Sports Zone)

NIXA, Mo. —  As you enter Nixa’s newly refurbished 4,500-seat stadium you’re greeted by a sign that says “We don’t follow history, we create history.”

And that’s certainly the case with a group of students who work out of a white truck that used to belong to a blood donation center. Now it’s been converted to a TV production truck for the 24 members of Nixa High School’s Media Production Class to live stream Eagle sporting events to fans at home.

And considering Friday’s game was limited to 3,000 fans because of social distancing concerns, more people are watching the live streaming than are at the game itself. And they can watch from anywhere.

“We have grandparents from all over the state, sometimes even overseas that comment on our Facebook post or send us an e-mail and say ‘Hey, we really appreciate this,” Nixa’s Athletics Communications Coordinator, Alex Stein said. “We’re overseas. We love to see our relatives play, our son play, our daughter play.”

The livestreaming part actually started five years ago run by just a single adult.

“I was just running a one-man camera operating show,” Stein said.

But teacher Jordan Burns got the idea to bring in students and this is the first year they’ve taken over all the production from the announcing.

“It’s hard to remember all those names,” Nate Puryear, Nixa’s Play-by-Play announcer said, “and there’s a lot of studying that goes into it all week and I don’t think a lot of people realize that.”

…to the technical side like running cameras and directing in the truck where the decisions are made as to what goes out over the air.

“It’s a pretty complex computer,” Noah Briggs the team’s technical director said. “It’s got a massive amount of buttons that allows us to switch between cameras and allows us to talk to our guys.”

Its an opportunity many of them never expected…

“I thought announcing would be the last thing I ever did,” Trey Hartwell the color analyst on the team said.

But it could be life changing…

“I really want to make a career out of this,” Hartwell said. “I’ve looked into ESPN, CBS Sports, Fox Sports. Just anything like that.”

“Technology and livestreaming in general in college and professional is continuing to grow,” Nixa Media Production Teacher, Jordan Burns said, “and more and more people are looking for more and more people like that. Just a life skill where they can go and be employed anywhere necessarily.”