What started as a decidedly East Coast sport has quickly spread to the rest of the country. Denver University even won the NCAA Men's Lacrosse Championship recently, becoming the first team to win the title west of the Appalachian mountains. Lacrosse is the fastest growing team sport in America. So, the time was right for Rob Wallace to start thinking of its future.
Wallace is the COO of Lax Sports Network. Lax Sports Network is a soon-to-be-launched app that will provide 24-hour coverage and content all about lacrosse.
"I’ve been producing sports television for 20 to 25 years," Wallace told iDigitalTimes. "I've covered Super Bowls, the Olympics, the Stanley Cup Finals."
After all that, Wallace found lacrosse and couldn't let go. The goal for Lax Sports Network is to spread the good word of lacrosse. He covers the entire aspect of the sport, not just the top college and pro levels. Lax Sports Network will be partnering up with youth tournaments across the country, too, to provide coverage to a worldwide audience. And to introduce new generations to the sport.
"Our main focus is amplifying the sport of lacrosse," he said. "Lax Sports Network is not just about the professional game, it’s about growing the sport with youth across America."
Of course, Lax Sports Network wouldn't be complete without the big coverage of the college and professional game. Due to pre-existing agreements, some broadcasting rights have already been locked down. Lax Sports Network will be working with club teams to provide coverage of the college sport at a club level, and will try and work out whatever deals they can for NCAA coverage. It has also partnered with the MLL, the professional outdoor lacrosse league. Again, pre-existing contracts may come into play, but the MLL is on board with support for Lax Sports Network.
A major focus of the network is to provide live coverage of events.
"Live content is extremely appealing," Wallace said. "It's where video is heading beyond Video On Demand."
Lax Sports Network aims to produce at least 100 live events a year that will be broadcast to anybody with the Lax Sports Network app. Alongside live events, there will also be a "Mike and Mike" style program that will run daily for a few hours as well as "SportsCenter" style show. Other content will include interviews with coaches and players, biographies on notable lacrosse figures, and how-to videos.
One of the best parts about Lax Sports Network for Wallace is the chance to try something in an untested market.
"It's not a traditional broadcast entity. We aren't something on cable, competing with ESPN, NFL Network, or any of those outlets."
Wallace is also excited to get Lax Sports Network into the hands of people who aren't using the same sources of entertainment and information as previous generations.
"We can start something from scratch and embrace sports fans in this heads down world," Wallace said. "We can take lacrosse and put it in their hands. With this new technology to draw upon my production experience, we can grow and engage with new, young fans."
All of this is powered by ViewLift, a video-hosting platform aiming to create custom apps for brands like Lax Sports Netowrk. ViewLift provides a platform for companies to get videos onto phones and other devices.
"We're a tech solution for brands to get their content to users," said Manik Bambha, the CTO of ViewLift. "They create live events, programming, and VOD content, and we give them a platform."
ViewLift saw a way to help companies create high-end apps without having to spend money internally. This saves time and money, as Bambha gave an example of one company that looked to try to do something internally before coming to ViewLift.
"They said if they tried developing a solution themselves, it would take over a year. We had their app up and running within 45 days," Bambha said. "Launching a digital service across all these platforms should not be tough."
The company simply tells ViewLift what it would like to see, and ViewLift gets to work. Because ViewLift specializes in video, it can get an app onto just about any platform, including Android, iOS, Amazon Fire, various Smart TVs, and other app stores, Bambha said.
Perhaps the best part about ViewLift's services is it operates on a subscription-based model. This means ViewLift will not simply create an app and then abandon the project. The team will continue to work on it and improve. As anyone with a smart phone knows, firmware updates are also common, so ViewLift will also ensure its apps run on the latest software, without companies having to figure out how to upgrade its app to the latest operating system version.
Thanks to help from ViewLift, Lax Sports Network will be officially launching their service on Jan. 5, 2016. The app will initially be available on seven platforms including desktop, iOS, Android, Roku, Amazon Fire and various Smart TVs. If the launch goes well, the app will be brought to more platforms in the future.
So what do you think? Are you interested in having a new all-lacrosse sports network available anywhere you want? Will you be downloading the app on Jan. 5? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.