The options for watching lacrosse have officially gone plaid; there was once a time when this seemed like an impossibility, but ludicrous speed has finally been achieved. On the heels of the Ivy League and Patriot League announcing that they'd be launching digital networks for the upcoming athletic season (the Ivy going to a subscription model; the Patriot going the free route, which is democratic and true and all that is terrific about America), the America East has announced that it is going to harness the Internet as a propaganda vehicle and broadcast all kinds of sporting endeavors on it:
America East, in conjunction with NeuLion, Inc., is proud to announce the creation of AmericaEast.TV, a comprehensive digital network built to expand the content and reach of the conference’s digital presence beginning with the 2013 fall sports season.
AmericaEast.TV, the first-ever conference-wide digital platform, will provide live streaming of an unprecedented number of events from eight of the nine institutions, as well as on-demand video content including interviews, feature stories and highlights throughout the year across a variety of the 19 America East sports from all nine members. Most importantly for fans, the platform, delivered by NeuLion, will be free of charge for all users. Users will have access to AmericaEast.TV on multiple devices, including PCs, smartphones and tablets, meaning fans the chance to watch America East teams on any device, anytime and anywhere.
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Powered by the NeuLion College Platform, AmericaEast.TV will be available to fans at the end of August with the beginning of the fall sports season, in conjunction with a redesigned AmericaEast.com. The network will feature 10 unique channels on an easy-to-navigate interface. Each of the conference’s nine member institutions will have its own school-branded channel featuring live and/or on-demand video content across a variety of conference sports, while the America East will have its own conference-wide channel featuring all available digital content and all team championship action. Due to an existing agreement, the University of Vermont will continue to stream its home live events for free through the Northeast Sports Network in 2013-14; however, on-demand content will be available through AmericaEast.TV.
The press release doesn't explicitly indicate whether men's lacrosse will have a platform on the network, but Binghamton has filled in the blanks on that possibility:
For the second straight year, Binghamton will offer live home coverage of 10 sports: men’s and women’s soccer and volleyball in the fall, men’s and women’s basketball and wrestling in the winter, and men’s and women’s lacrosse, baseball and softball in the spring. The bubearcats.tv portal, which will be unveiled in late August, will also feature Athlete of the Week interviews, game highlights, features and coverage for BU’s entire 21-sport program.
This is fantastic news: There are now three conferences (America East, Northeast, and Patriot) that are streaming -- for free! -- men's lacrosse games on the web, covering the entirety of their membership's home games. That's a huge chunk of Division I lacrosse that is available for gawking, which -- combined with other streaming options on ESPN3 and various schools that otherwise provide a platform for broadcast -- is an incredible development.
Just think: How many people missed out on watching Albany scorch earth this past season with the Thompson Trio? That group is going to markedly dwindle, which is a win for everyone. These are the good times, people.