3 Industries That Have Successfully Monetized Live Streaming

3 Industries

Success means different things to different people. (Though I think we can all safely agree that this NBA team nabbed it recently.)

Organizations have, in our view, hit a homerun with live stream monetization when they have:

  • A carefully thought-out strategy for monetizing their stream.
  • Seen the live streaming process through to the best of their ability.
  • Reinvested monies earned to help cover expenses and/or improve their live stream.

Success with monetization is not about how much money you make; that’s all relative. It’s about realizing the value of your product and taking action to preserve it. Even a small profit can make a big difference in the health and growth of your live streaming program. So if you’re just starting to explore how to make money streaming online, first consider what success means to you, then go from there.

Here are a few of the industries we’ve seen that are experiencing success in this area. If you’re thinking of ways to monetize your live stream, consider taking a page out of their playbook.

Is your organization missing an opportunity to profit from its live stream? Get this free guide to learn more about your monetization options and how to know if monetization is the right move for you.

Three Industries Doing Live Stream Monetization Successfully

1. Sports

We’ve mentioned the Northwoods League before in this blog—the largest organized baseball league in the world. Its pay-per-view (PPV) games draw an audience of roughly a million people, and the money earned is mostly reinvested in its live streaming program. Over time, the PPV live stream has enabled the league to purchase new video equipment for all of its ballparks, which continues to boost the quality of each broadcast.

In my experience, sports organizations at all levels have great potential for generating a profit from their live streaming. Aside from having a product surrounded by a sense of urgency (most people prefer watching a live streamed game—soccer fans, check out NBCUniversal’s new premiere league pass), there are numerous ways to add value to their product and engage with fans, including:

  • Producing pre- and post-game shows and interviews with players and coaches.
  • Offering multiple ways for fans to pay for content (i.e. season passes or single-event passes).
  • Recruiting local businesses to sponsor events and run commercial advertising.
  • Tweeting highlight clips, game stats, and other items of interest to fans.

2. Racing

Dirt car racing, horse racing, sailboat racing, bike racing… fans love to watch high action events in real time. As a result, many of our racing clients have seen a great deal of success with their live stream monetization efforts.

There’s a lot racing organizations can do to encourage and promote their live stream, with social media being at the top of the list. For example, you could use Twitter or Facebook for pre-race promotion and to share post-race highlights; you can also attract new viewers with add-ons, like Q & A sessions with participants and fans, demonstration videos, or contests or giveaways. Social media ads and sponsorships can help generate even more revenue alongside each PPV event.

3. Pageants

Pageant organizations have also done well with live stream monetization this year. Like the other industries mentioned, promotion of PPV events also has a lot to do with their success. Pageant organizations sometimes market to previous pageant viewers by emailing them directly about upcoming events (assuming the viewer voluntarily registered with their email address and opted in to marketing emails). This targeted approach engages customers who have already shown interest in the product, and are more likely to tune in for the next event.

Interested in learning more about how to make money streaming online?

If you’d like to know more about how your organization can get started with live stream monetization, get in touch! We’d like to partner with you to help you grow. As your partner, we’ll help solidify your live streaming goals, strategize about how best to reach them, recommend PPV pricing, and suggest a reasonable timeline in which to make it all happen. Set up a free 30-minute consultation call today to discuss your monetization options—no commitment necessary.


Pay-Per-View Live Streaming Services: Your Guide To Hosting & Platform Options

Pay-Per-View Large

Some things just need to be watched live.

A few years ago, Grantland featured an article on this very topic, declaring that (when it comes to sports, at least), “it’s live… or it’s totally dead.” The reasons they offered ranged from the rational (if the game already happened, the drama of what could be is gone) to the irrational (hmmm…. maybe we can influence the outcome of a game just by sheer psychic energy). Then there’s the idea that you just never know what might happen at a live event. I mean, is the possibility of a bear breaking into the stadium and attacking the players ever really off the table?

That’s what makes live events—in this case, your content—so worthwhile. So why not charge for pay-per-view live streaming (PPV)? The idea of monetizing live video content seems to be catching on, as more organizations are realizing the true value of their product. If people are willing to pay to see the event in person, there’s no reason they wouldn’t do the same to watch it live on TV.

PPV is the number one way to generate revenue from your live stream. But there are a few things you should know about pay-per-view services before you start tallying up the dollars and cents.

Pay-per-view isn’t the only way you can generate revenue with your live stream. Download this free guide to find out more about monetization options.

Pay-Per-View Live Streaming—6 Things To Consider

1. Not all live streaming platforms are pay-per-view video platforms.

As of now, none of the free live streaming platforms—YouTube, Ustream, Periscope, etc.—are capable of putting video content behind a paywall. And in fact, even many paid live streaming platforms don’t have the infrastructure to support PPV and the activities associated with it. Fans typically pay for events by credit card, which means the platform you use must have some way to handle credit card processing.

So if you’re currently using one of these platforms to live stream your events, you’ll need to switch to a provider with more advanced capabilities.

How Stretch does it: While many live streaming companies use outside vendors for payment processing, we handle it all in-house. When an end user purchases video content, the transaction goes through our own secure processing system. For you, that means superior customer service. As your live streamed event takes place, you can “talk” access our payment system directly and track your revenue in real time. And if our support team receives an email from fan who needs a refund for any reason, we can easily log into our merchant account and provide a refund right away—no back-and-forth necessary.

2. Pay-per-view services take a cut of the money.

It’s common for live streaming platform providers to take a cut of the revenue generated from PPV. Beyond that, there are two questions you’ll need to ask:

  • What percentage of the revenue from the event will you receive?
  • Who pays the credit card processing fees? These fees usually come to 3%-5% of the transaction amount. Many live streaming providers take those fees out of the total revenue, then split the remaining funds with you.

How Stretch does it: Stretch does a gross revenue split, meaning the total revenue is split with you first, and then credit card processing fees are taken out of our share only. That means more money in your pocket from every event.

3. Flexible pay-per-view packages can maximize your returns.

Fans are more likely to buy your video content if you offer them a range of purchasing options. Some people want to watch one game, while others know they want to view every game of the season. Still others might want to watch only championship games.

The problem is, not all pay-per-view live streaming providers offer high degrees of flexibility. If the only purchase option fans have available is high-definition (cost) vs. standard definition (free), that’s not enough to provide a great experience for fans. We highly suggest making it easy for people to pay ahead of time for whichever package they prefer.

How Stretch does it: You design your viewing packages, mixing and matching whatever you like, and we make it happen. Our sports clients create packages that include everything from day passes to team passes to playoff packages to second-half-of-the-season packages.

5. Ease into pay-per-view live streaming the way you want to.

If you’re hesitant about how PPV will be perceived by your fans, take it slow. Start with the minimum price required (this will vary by provider) and work your way up over time. Use the ramping-up time to build a fan base, putting the proceeds back into your equipment to help produce a higher-quality broadcast. It’s a great way to generate some revenue and improve your live stream at the same time.

How Stretch does it: To cover our margins we may set a minimum price per event, but if you don’t want to charge that much, we’ll work with you to get to where you’re comfortable. We want you to feel good about your offering, and help you attract as many viewers as possible.

6. Let viewers access your live content however they want.

Over-the-top (OTT) streaming devices are increasing in popularity—there’s one in four out of every 10 U.S. households. Your fans should be able to access your PPV content on their platform of choice, whether through Apple TV, Roku, or anything else. Some platform providers offer support for OTT, but not all have the ability to put the video content behind a paywall.

How Stretch does it: We can deliver any live broadcast to an OTT device as PPV content. The key is giving viewers a way to prove they’ve paid for the content, which we do through an activation code. To watch, viewers simply log into their Stretch account on a laptop or a phone, get an activation code for their purchase, and plug the code into their OTT device.

Interested in offering pay-per-view live streaming?

We’d love to work with you to get it started. If you have questions about our pay-per-view services or how pay-per-view-live streaming might work for your organization, let’s talk. In a free 30-minute consultation we’ll answer any questions you have about PPV; or, if you’re already using PPV but are looking for a new platform provider, we’ll review your current monetization strategy and see how it can be improved. Monetization is a natural extension of live streaming—take advantage of it!


Should Your Organization Live Stream?

Should Your Organization Live Stream

There comes a point where any organization shooting for growth over the long term has to try something new. (Heck, even people do that.) So what about trying out a live stream? Live streaming is steadily becoming part of popular culture; it’s also easy to pull off and super engaging for your audience. And the organizations that have experimented with it have shown it can be an exceptionally valuable business tool. Specifically:

  • It can raise the visibility of your brand.
  • It can help drive traffic to your website and/or social media accounts.
  • It can extend your reach beyond your traditional network.
  • It can generate revenue through monetization.

How might your organization benefit from the trend?

How Your Business Or Organization Can Use Live Streaming

Educational Institutions

Many schools have already seen the benefits of live streaming their sporting events, but so many other aspects of education are also a good match for live streaming. School districts can stream teacher training sessions and PTA meetings. Classroom teachers can broadcast their own lessons or seminars, watch subject-matter experts solve real-time problems, and connect students with peers across state lines and even abroad. Even school plays, concerts, and other events could be live streamed.

Live streaming tip: Announce live stream broadcasts early and often via your school’s social media account or through emails to relevant parties. Viewership and engagement will generally increase as you put more effort into enticing your audience. Also, the more regular you are about scheduling live streams, the more your community will come to expect it—and show up to watch.

Government Organizations

Governmental bodies aren’t typically known for being speedy or readily adopting new things, but live streaming offers a way to change all that. Imagine the impact of a governing official sharing news as it happens or interacting with constituents in real time. Most people would welcome the chance to participate in a Q&A session with their local leaders, attend city council meetings they can’t get to in person, or keep track of an important voting process as it happens. Community organizations and facilities could also use it to share news and cover local events.

Live streaming tip: Extend the life of your live streams by creating a place to archive them after the fact. Your live videos become instant assets that can be shared by viewers to extend your audience even further; they can also be used and repurposed for future events.

The right live streaming platform will partner with your organization to help you reach your live streaming goals. Download this free guide to find out what you should know before you sign on.

For-Profit Businesses

For-profit businesses can use live streaming to increase both internal and external engagement. What better way to invite customers to get to know your company than by bringing them inside? Show them how your product is made, answering questions in real time throughout. You could also feature new products and show how they’re used, conduct classes for interested consumers, or broadcast interviews with employees or clients. Business conventions, too, are a natural for live streaming, in that you can include people who can’t attend the event in person (and charge a fee for entry!). With the right platform, you can enhance your brand’s image and share valuable content.

Internally, live video is a great way to bring remote locations together for company meetings or announcements, train employees, and share proposals and presentations.

Live streaming tip: Offer live viewers an “exclusive”—something they wouldn’t get without watching live. The ability to interact with a live stream (asking questions, for instance, or going behind-the-scenes somewhere) is appealing and may even be different than what viewers would experience in person. Play up this angle to encourage people to connect.

Nonprofit Organizations

Most nonprofits have an ongoing need for funds, which makes it all the more important to cultivate strong relationships with donors. Live streaming isn’t expensive, and it’s a great way to humanize your organization—which in turn makes you more appealing to donors. Plus, it extends your reach beyond the limits of geography. You can easily broadcast fundraising events live to make them accessible to viewers everywhere and include a link to accept donations.

Live streaming tip: Video is powerful! Show (don’t tell!) donors how their contribution has made an impact. Follow a few volunteers while they work or set up a fundraiser, or share success stories of people and families in your community. You don’t need a crack production team and tons of equipment—just a good story and a volunteer or two willing to film it.

Do More With Live Streaming

Here at Stretch, we’ve seen organizations use live video for everything from tractor-pulling contests and beauty pageants to Lego-building competitions and fitness classes. Some are even monetizing their content strategically to earn additional revenue. No matter what or how they’re sharing, they’re giving viewers something of value—and giving their business what it needs to grow.

Need a helping hand? Live streaming is always easier with a knowledgeable partner, so if you don’t have one, let’s talk. We can help identify the live streaming goals for your business and point you to the equipment you’ll need to get your stream off the ground. And we’ll have your back through every event you stream—no worries about technology snafus. Looking forward to seeing your live stream soon!


What Are The Benefits Of Live Streaming Church Services?

What Are The Benefits Of Live Streaming Church Services

Whether you’re a pastor, a trustee, or a volunteer, you know that part of growing your church body and expanding your outreach is implementing new and innovative methods to connect with your community. If you’ve been doing some research around these methods, you’ve probably come across church live streaming services as an option.

You’ve probably considered that live streaming will give you a chance to help your congregants stay connected to church services they can’t physically attend—but there are tons of other real (and unique) benefits to live streaming you may not have considered. Take a look!

What Are The Benefits Of Live Streaming Church Services?

1. It can increase your outreach to the community (and beyond).

Many churchgoers invite friends, family members, or neighbors to attend their church with them. While some invitees may feel comfortable going to a church service right away, others may want to dip their toe in the water before jumping in feet first—and live streaming is a great way for them to be able to do that! It’s far easier (and less intimidating) for someone to watch a live-streamed church service from the comfort of their own home and get a sense for what it’s all about before attending.

Looking for a progressive way to reach more people with your message? Find out everything you need to know about live streaming your church services.

2. It can help people become stronger in their faith.

Think of the last movie you watched that had a big impact on you. Did you find yourself thinking, “I wish I could have seen that live instead of on a screen!” Probably not. The movie was impactful because it had a powerful message. Well, the same is true of live streaming! Consider the fact that live streaming gives your congregants (and people from around the world) the chance to connect with your message, regardless of their physical location.

3. It can connect people to other church-related activities.

Many churches offer a variety of services, classes, and outreach opportunities throughout the week. And since you’re investing the time in these different programs, why not allow viewers to “tune in” and watch what’s happening from afar? Imagine grandparents being able to tune into their grandchild’s choir concert or someone recovering from surgery being able to follow along with their favorite weekly Bible study. The possibilities for live streaming don’t begin and end on Sunday!

4. It can increase member donations.

Churches are able to continue to operate and expand their outreach through the tithing of churchgoers. If you live stream your church service, you are given a unique opportunity to allow viewers to give their offerings without actually attending the service.

Consider the bigger picture with live streaming.

It’s easy to fall into the trap of worrying that no one will show up on Sunday if live streaming is available. And while you may have some individuals who choose to tune in online vs. attend a physical service, it’s critical to think of the bigger picture. A church live streaming solution can impact the lives of your members (and those in the community) in ways you probably haven’t considered. So instead of dwelling on any negative outcomes, consider how much further you can spread your message with this technology. 


9 Questions To Ask About A Live Streaming Platform Before You Commit

9 Questions To Ask About A Live Streaming Platform Before You Commit

Let’s cut to the chase: You want to choose the right live streaming platform. End of story.

But as you know, that isn’t the easiest thing in the world to do. Live streaming is a constantly evolving field, and live streaming platform providers are regularly updating their offerings to keep up with these changes. So before you take the plunge and get locked in with a provider, make sure you grill yourself (and your potential providers) with the following nine questions.

9 Important Questions (& 19 Follow-Up Questions) To Ask About Live Streaming Platforms

1. “Will I be getting an actual streaming platform, or will  I be getting an embedded player?”

A customized platform is a separate place online that houses your live streaming content aside from your website, while an embedded player can live anywhere on your website. If you’re after a live streaming platform, you’ll want to ensure your provider can accommodate that.

Follow-Up Questions

  • “Is it important for us to house our live video streams in a different environment?”
  • “Does the platform allow us to integrate social media or watch multiple streams at once?”
  • “Is it problematic if we take traffic away from our main website by using a separate platform?”
  • “How will our branding be affected if we use a separate streaming platform vs. an embedded player?”

2. “What kind of support will be available to me and my end users?

Some time ago, a client called us up and needed help determining why their live stream was black. Everything was hooked up and running just fine, but the video simply wasn’t showing up. Luckily, we were able to identify the culprit—their lens cap was still on the camera! Case and point, a provider can help identify these frustrating (and sometimes funny) details that come along with live streaming.

Follow-Up Questions

  • ‘“Will someone from the platform’s company help me test my live stream before an event to make sure everything is working?
  • Will my someone from the platform’s company be proactively monitoring my event during a live stream?
  • Will my end users have someone to contact at the platform’s company in case they have issues during the live stream?

3. “What else is the live streaming platform provider involved in?”

Before selecting a platform, you’ll want to find out what else the streaming provider is involved in. Are they also a website hosting provider or a multimedia company? This isn’t a deal breaker, but you should be aware before the selection process begins.

Follow-Up Questions

  • “Is live streaming a priority at the platform’s organization?”
  • “Where does live streaming rank in priority with the organization’s other lines of business?”

4. “Can my end user stream on multiple types of devices?”

Today’s end user isn’t just pulling up a chair to their desktop or laptop computer and watching a live stream—they’re focused more on getting that live stream wherever they’re at, on as many devices as possible.

Follow-Up Questions

  • “Will my end users be able to pull up our live stream on their phones, tablets, Rokus, Apple TVs, and other devices?”

5. “Is there any ad or self-promotional inventory available to me?”

There is often a trade-off between the cost of a live streaming platform provider and how much control they have over ad inventory. You’ll want to find out the balance of that control before selecting the platform you want.

Follow-Up Questions

  • “Who has control of the inventory?”
  • “What is the revenue split of the inventory?”
  • “Do we have an opportunity to promote in our live stream?”
  • “How much of the inventory is static (like overlays), and how much is dynamic (like commercials)?”

6. “Is the platform compatible with my current workflow or equipment?”

Some streaming providers have proprietary software and hardware that you can only use with their service. So when you’re in discussions with the provider, make sure you’re clear as to what you have in place and understand if you need to change something.

Follow-Up Question

  • “If I purchase a certain hardware or software from the provider and later switch streaming companies, will my equipment still work?”

7. “Is this a ‘white page’ platform?”

“White page” platforms allow for complete control and customization abilities. This is great for those who are set on ensuring that your brand is consistent across your website and on your live streaming platform.

Follow-Up Question

  • “Is there any element of the live streaming platform that I cannot change?”

8. “How does the pricing model work?”

While some providers in the collegiate athletics space charge per event or charge a flat annual rate for live streaming, most live streaming platform providers base pricing on hours or users. If this is the case, you’ll want to consider how often you live stream and what your user base is like (and will be like in the future).

Follow-Up Questions

  • “If I pay by the number of end users who access a given live stream, how does that process work?”
  • “If I pay for the number of hours I stream, do I have to pay upfront for a set number of hours at a set price?”

9. And don’t forget about partnership: “Will the provider of the live streaming platform act as a resource to us?”

If you’re having a difficult time determining what kind of live streaming setup you need, or if you have a specific question about your live stream, will the platform provider be there to answer that question? Live streaming is an evolving industry, so you’ll want a knowledgeable consultant in the space to turn to.

Follow-Up Question

  • “Will this provider be involved after we purchase the platform?”

If you’re looking for the right partner to guide and assist you through the live streaming process, let’s talk! At Stretch Internet, we stream more than 60,000 live events every year with an emphasis on providing outstanding support and memorable experiences. 


Mic check mic check. 1,2… 1,2. Is this thing on?

Can you hear me now? Good...


Pre-event testing – it is one of most essential/tedious/borderline annoying things that should be at the top of every SID’s list of things to do before their live event begins (albeit a very long list).

We recommend giving us a quick shout about 30 minutes before any event just to make sure we are receiving a clear, sharp and steady video stream. It helps ease the mind of both parties and solidifies that everyone is on the same page. Here at Stretch Internet, our support staff loves answering calls for some pre-event testing (OK, so our lives are a little dull) because there is no better way to make sure everything is running smoothly. Of course, testing the day before or a week before is great, but there are certain variables that may change once everything is set up at the actual venue on any given day. Anything from the internet connection on site, to overlooking a setting selection in Wirecast, to making sure the audio is coming through clearly can go wrong. Whatever the case may be, it is always nice to know everything is working as it should before the event begins.

As all of our clients know, we place a heavy emphasis on the support we provide, and our job is to make the streaming process as pain free as possible.

Looking forward to doing some testing this year!

Small School Players in the NFL

Well, it’s finally here. The time when I am, as a football fan, most excited.

The Har-Bowl has been decided, Ray Lewis went out on top, and Cool Joe silenced a lot of people. BUT more importantly, the NFL draft is now the talk of the football world.

Ever since I can remember, the NFL draft has always been my favorite sporting event. There’s something about seeing the college athletes you love to watch play take that next step and following all the different evaluations/strategies from the “experts.” Watching Mel and Todd duke it out on which QB will be the most successful and who has been better hair. I love it all.

I have stacks of “Mel Kiper Draft Reports” in my closet dating back to 2004 and do my own evaluations on players I watched during the year while reading about players I didn’t get a chance to see first hand.

One of the best components of the draft is the hidden gems you can find late in the draft and at the various levels of the collegiate ranks they can come from. So, I thought I would write about the most successful “small school” guys in the NFL.

There have been quite a few players to come through the NFL and have very successful careers. Some of which have come directly from Stretch clients.

Active guys that came from the lower ranks like Pierre Garcon (who came from DIII powerhouse Mount Union), Fred Jackson, of Coe College, and Jared Allen, from Idaho State, have been very successful at the NFL level. Even Super Bowl-winning QB Joe Flacco comes from the FCS.

There are also a lot of former players who impacted NFL and came through the small-school route, some of whom are thought to be the best to ever play their positions. A wide receiver by the name of Jerry Rice came from a DI-AA (or now known as FCS) school called Mississippi Valley State and set NCAA records across all divisions for touchdown receptions and total receptions. He only went on to win 3 Super Bowls, 1 Super Bowl MVP, 13 Pro Bowls, and set the NFL record for career receptions, yards, and TDs.

Another FCS product came from a small school in Columbia, Mississppi and will forever be associated with being one of the greatest running backs of all time. Walter Payton, who attended Jackson State University, never got any interest from SEC universities but ended up breaking the NCAA’s scoring recording with 65 rushing touchdowns. Oh, and he is also the NFL’s second all time leading rusher. Not bad for a kid who didn’t get a sniff from the big conference schools in his own backyard.

The list of successful pro football players from smaller schools is extensive and prodigious. Sometimes kids just need the opportunity to play and develop instead of sitting on the bench for 3 years only to hope for a starting spot their senior year. There are plenty of examples to back it up.

Since I am such a draft junkie, I thought I would take a look at some small school prospects who I think could make a living out of playing on Sundays. Some even played for a school that happens to be a Stretch Internet client

Luke Marquardt is an offensive lineman out of Azusa Pacific who has been shooting up draft boards since the process started. Marquardt only solidified the buzz with an impressive showing at the NFL combine that included 31 reps of 225 pounds on the bench press. Not bad for a kid who started as a walk-on basketball player and turned out starring on the gridiron under their NFL Hall of Fame offensive line coach, Jackie Slater. Coincidentally, Slater attended Jackson State (same as Walter Payton) and went on to be a 7 time Pro Bowler and 3 time First Team All Pro.

Another prospect that stood out at the combine was a tight end from Rice University, Vance McDonald. The first two TEs off the board have been solidified in Tyler Eifert and Zach Ertz, but McDonald made a strong case to be the third player drafted at that position. His 4.69 40 time and 31 bench press reps were very impressive, especially when he measures at 6-foot-4 267 pounds.

Every year there is a ton of talent that comes from below the FBS level. Who will be the next Rice or Payton? It’s tough to predict such greatness, but there is no doubt that NFL teams are capable of finding big-time players in the lower divisions.

Let us know. Who is the best football player to come out of your school? Any prospects that NFL teams should be noticing?

From the Ground Up: The History of Stretch Internet

Most of you have had some interaction with Stretch Internet founder and president Ryan Ermeling, but I bet not many have heard the story of how the company came to be.  I had the chance to sit down with Mr. Stretch himself and asked everything from where the company name originated to what he believes the future has in store.  A timeline, if you will, of how Stretch Internet was born and you may be surprised at just how far the company has come.

Question: Give us some insight into your past jobs and what led up to you becoming the president of Stretch Internet.

Ryan: I was a communications graduate and worked in athletics media relations straight out of college.  I graduated in 1997 and worked at the community college level and then was fortunate enough to work at a Division I school.  I worked with the Cal State Fullerton baseball program and that was an awesome experience. I got my ring in 2004 when they beat Texas for the College World Series title and then I pulled a “John Elway” and “retired,” and that was the last game I worked as an SID.  I started Stretch when I was still at Fullerton and pursued it full time after that 2004 season.

Question: How did you first come up with the idea for Stretch?

I am an entrepreneur by accident.  The initial idea for Stretch was not to develop a company that has blossomed the way it has.  We have been very fortunate and it has surpassed my wildest dreams in terms of growth.  When I started it in the fall of 2003, the idea was for me to do something on the side that was fun and unique.  There was a real opening at that point to provide streaming for, not so much Division I schools, but D-II, D-III, and NAIA schools.  For a lot of those schools at that point, Internet broadcasting was not part of their vernacular. That first year, we started with 12 schools and had 17 by the end of that year.  I think by April or May of 2004 we were starting to see more and more interest and I began to realize there was something more to it.

At Fullerton, I developed a way to broadcast our games on-line in house, and that was kind of the brain child for what I did with Stretch. The initial marketing was pretty straightforward – I had a graphic designer friend (Mike Greenlee, who took over for me as the baseball SID at Fullerton) design our logo and our first marketing piece and sent it out  in the CoSIDA Digest, and started getting interest right away.

Question: Who were your first clients?

The first two schools to commit – and I can’t remember which one was first and which one was second – were East Tennessee State and Northwest Missouri State.  East Tennessee State was with us until 2005 or 2006, when they had to leave because of a local arrangement they had, but Northwest Missouri State is still a client.  We still have some of our other charter clients with us as well.  Christopher Newport is one that I remember very well.  At our first CoSIDA convention,  I set up our booth and didn’t know what to expect. Within a few minutes of the show opening, Wayne Block and Francis Tommasino of Christopher Newport walked up, and they just said, ‘We are ready to go,’ and I was blown away.  Of course, they weren’t all that easy.  Sacramento State, University of Pacific, Muskingum, and Southern Illinois are some of the other charter clients that are still with us nine years later, which is very cool to see.

Question: When and how did you come up with the name?

Well I am 6’5, it wasn’t a regular nickname of mine, but people would call me Stretch every now and then.  It actually originated from my interest in baseball.  My buddy, Mike, was starting his own graphic design firm, and we were both baseball fans so we had the idea that it would be cool to have business names with baseball connotations.  His was ‘643 Design’ and I liked ‘Stretch Internet’. It was short and different and kind of catchy.  At least people would remember it – it wasn’t like ‘Streaming Internet Services’ or something bland.

Question: Take me through the early days of Stretch.

It was your classic garage business to start with.  I think I had the only garage in America with 72 phone lines coming into it.  I had industrial racks, each with six of these big all-in-one Apple eMac computers on them. Obviously the technology has completely changed now. My wife always kids me now, but back then she got kind of annoyed because my office was on one side of my house and to get to the garage you had to walk through the kitchen, the family room, and in front of the TV. So on Saturdays I would be working in my office then I would have to go check a broadcast or change the volume or something, so there I was just sprinting back and forth all the way across the house.  I had this worn out path between the office and the garage.

Question: When did you move the company to AZ and why?

We moved in the summer of 2006 mostly because we decided as a family that we were going to pursue Stretch full time. My wife stopped teaching, and we wanted a change of scenery.  Plus I had grown up in Arizona and we liked it out here.

Question: What have been the best parts of growing your own business and what have been the challenges?

I think just watching things grow.  When you are mired in the day-to-day operations, you don’t really appreciate it, but when you step back and look at where we came from – the days of a garage with all these phone lines and me running back and forth – to having a bunch of full time employees and almost 300 schools, it’s pretty neat.  It has been really cool to see that growth.  I also really enjoy developing relationships with other SIDs.  I’m an SID at heart so I enjoy those connections.  From a selfish standpoint, being your own boss is kind of cool.  I guess, technically speaking, I have about 300 bosses if you look at it that way, and obviously the business is always on your mind, but being able to call the shots is rewarding.

When you’re in technology there are a lot of challenges, and a lot of things are out of your control, whether it’s server malfunctions or data center issues or phone lines that don’t work the way they are suppose to.  We have certainly had our fair share of those kind of frustrations, but otherwise I don’t know if I have had any overwhelming moments.  Obviously, we’ve had some growing pains here and there and decisions that we might have executed a little differently in hindsight, but we haven’t had many major challenges or frustrations we haven’t been able to overcome.

Question: What does the future have in store for Stretch Internet?

I am excited.  I think there are a lot of opportunities in education and in other sectors we haven’t even begun to explore. I really think there’s a large market out there for a service that’s truly driven by customer support.  There are hundreds of streaming companies out there, but I don’t know if there are any that focus their model completely around customer support like we do.  Most of them will brag about different features or pricing or whatever it might be – not that we don’t have that as well, but I think our entire core is built around customer support.  It is an easy sell when you are dealing with technology because people want to know that their provider has their back.  Certainly, I think our base will always be athletics, but I think there will be some chances for us to really aggressively market to some other segments.  We have been fortunate and lucky in some ways, because a lot of our marketing is done for us by our clients, and so many of our leads are generated from word of mouth.  We market, but we don’t really have to market hard, so I would like to be a little more aggressive in our pursuit of these other areas.

Juuussttt a bit outside



Catch phrases are nothing new to sports, but they have certainly evolved from novelty to staple in the world of sports broadcasting, particularly from an entertainment perspective. I chose to write about the history of catch phrases and how they have progressed from some of the early gems (when I say early I mean over the past few decades, I’m only 23) to the witty pop culture references of today. Everything from a classic “Boo-yah” to a more recent, “it’s levitation holmes.”

The interesting part of researching catch phrases was finding that they were used in many different styles of broadcasting. There were in-game catch phrases and ones used for highlight voice-overs. No matter how you use them, they are certainly ingrained into sports broadcasting as we know it.

In the late 80’s and early 90’s the 11 p.m. Sportscenter, hosted by Dan Patrick and Keith Olbermann, became a staple in sports entertainment. Catch phrases were a focal point of the show and have remained a vital part of the shows success in the modern form. The early gems were abundant – everything from Patrick’s “dare I say, en fuego” to Olbermann’s “from way downtown…BANG!” The phrases took the show to all new heights and the popularity of the program really began to grow, especially among teens and young adults.

SportsCenter produced so many great sportscasters with many memorable catch phrases during that time period. From Stuart Scott to Kenny Mayne to Craig Kilborn, the early 90’s were filled with absolute classics:
“I am the king of all the land…bring me the finest meats and cheeses.” Kenny Mayne
“As cool as the other side of the pillow.” Stuart Scott
“Jeff Gordon would take the checkered flag, but he would have to give it back for the next race.” Kenny Mayne
“That’s his 37th home run, not in one game of course that would be some sort of record.” Kenny Mayne

Play-by-play announcers, like Chicago White Sox broadcaster Ken Harrelson, had catch phrases that were present in every broadcast for certain situations. Harrelson’s home run call was simple and effective – “You can put it on the booaarrdd, yes.” The legendary Ernie Harwell, who called Detroit Tigers games for 42 seasons, used to use foul ball situations to report that “a man from Walla Walla”or “a lady from Muskegon” had caught the foul ball. He of course was just choosing a local city at random, but things like this endeared Harwell to his listeners and created a sense of connection with the Tigers fan base. He also coined the phrase “he stood there like a house on the side of the road” after a batter would strike out looking.

Notable national broadcasters have a lot more household catch phrases like Marv Albert’s “AND the foul,” or Gus Johnson in his permanently escalated tone saying “rise and fire!” Who doesn’t love a great “Adios, pelota!” from Jon Miller or a good “Are you serious baby?” from the charismatic Dick Vitale.

Of course being a huge college football fan, and a Nebraska die hard, the phrase of “Man, woman, and child, did that put’em in the aisles!” by Lyell Bremser will forever be my favorite.

There are those who make a living from their catch phrases, like Michael Buffer’s “Let’s get readdyy too rummmbllleeeee!” Then there are those who become infamous for theirs:

This notable catch phrase, created and broadcasted (term used loosely) by Brian Collins on a Ball State student news program, has since been referenced in main stream media like SportsCenter, Family Guy, Tosh.0 and he has even appeared on David Letterman and the Early Show.

Essentially anything can be made into a catch phrase, viral Youtube videos, movie quotes, song references, pop culture icons or events… the list goes on and on. The catch phrase has not only evolved, but it has changed the way we view sports broadcasting.

Finally, I wanted to conclude with a little humor. I did a SportsCenter type show at the University of Arizona and loved coming up with catch phrases every week. Blast from the past, hopefully I’m not the next Brian Collins. Fast forward to the 2:25 mark:

I bet some of you have some great catch phrases you use during games, let’s hear some of yours. Post your own witty catch phrases or some of your all time favorites.

Ben there, done that

Although I don’t have an epic story about moving across the country or choosing between being a member of Stretch and a paralegal for a prestigious law firm, I did have an unique path to the gold standard of streaming that is Stretch Internet.

In the early stages of my upbringing I was heavily (and exclusively) involved in three things: playing/ watching unhealthy amounts of sports, acting and performing at local theaters, and impressing girls. I was pretty good at 2 of the 3 (you figure out which two).

So in my attempt to answer the burning question every adolescent is faced with – “What do I want to do with my life?” – I figured I’d try to combine my passions and become a sports broadcaster. I decided to take my talents to Tucson and enrolled at the University of Arizona. While in college, I hosted a sports radio show, did play-by-play for Arizona baseball and football, interned at the local NBC affiliate for three years, and started my own TV show about Arizona Athletics (that was eventually sponsored and shown throughout the campus). By the time graduation rolled around I was riding high. I was ready for the real world and convinced I was going to be co-hosting Sportscenter (and yes I did have a list of about 25 catch phrases ready for any highlight thrown my way).

Needless to say, I wasn’t called by Bristol and after three months of Xbox, I finally had a job offer from FOX Sports Arizona to work as a production assistant. It wasn’t exactly what I was hoping for, but I thought it could be my way into the business.

The job didn’t pay much so I started looking around for other jobs to make some extra money and to keep my roommates (and by roommates, I mean parents) off my back. A family friend of ours kept talking about a sports broadcasting company owned by one of his best friend. I was immediately intrigued and quickly got in touch with Ryan at Stretch Internet, to see what his broadcasting company was all about. Fortunately for me, he was looking for some part time help and asked if I wanted to meet for an interview.

While the job wouldn’t involve any play-by-play opportunities, I wanted to find out more about this “streaming” business, so I decided to meet with Ryan about the possibility of being a part-time broadcast studio technician.

I received an email from Ryan with the Stretch address and he asked me to be there promptly at 9 a.m. I left my house in plenty of time and entered the address he sent into my GPS.  I wasn’t paying much attention to where exactly it was taking me, but I was following the soothing computerized voice turn by turn.  As soon as the GPS stated, “destination”, I looked up only to see four pieces of wood being held together by rusty nails and an old blue tarp as a roof. This couldn’t be right.

I didn’t know whether to turn around and drive home or somehow knock on the door without collapsing the “building”.  I decided to call Ryan and make sure Stretch wasn’t a coverup for a some sort of black market exchange center. I told him I was at the address he gave me and didn’t see any office centers in sight. He re-read the address to me and it was all correct… except for the fact that I was in Phoenix, not Mesa. Awesome.

Ryan told me he would call me in the next couple days to re-schedule.  Of course, I did not expect a call back from him since he probably thought I was some directionally challenged kid with an 8th grade reading level. But he must have realized I went to U of A (not ASU) because he did call me back. We were able to have our sit-down interview and I have been working with Stretch for the last 8 months as a part time employee.

In July, I was offered a full-time position here and didn’t hesitate to accept it.

Now that you know my story, my name is Ben Gabrielson. I am a graduate of the University of Arizona, but born and raised a die-hard Nebraska football fan. I can quote every Chris Farley movie ever made and watch as much college football as possible.

I look forward to getting acquainted with all of our clients and helping Stretch Internet further it’s success.