Next month, the Middle Tennessee Sports Network will embark on its fifth season of coverage of Nashville's high school ice hockey league, Greater Nashville Area Scholastic Hockey (GNASH).
Being GNASH's lone full-time broadcast partner, we seek all kinds of ways to improve our coverage year-in and year-out. Three seasons ago, we began keeping track of all the GNASH games we weren't broadcasting on a given night in order to get everyone all of the final scores, not just the finals of the games we were covering. Inspired by Friday Night Thunder, a local pregame show we syndicate during football season, we began making Google Spreadsheets for GNASH game nights. At the end of each game night, we would link to the spreadsheet on Facebook, allowing for everyone to see all of the night's final scores. The reason we did this was because the GNASH Website usually doesn't publish Wednesday night finals until Thursday morning, and Friday night games usually aren't published until Monday.
After the 2011-12 season, we abandoned the Google Spreadsheet, and began posting finals to our Twitter and Facebook accounts.
For the 2013-14 season, we are planning a faster, better way to get the final scores to everyone associated with GNASH, be it coaches, players, or parents - a group text alert. This idea is inspired by Murfreesboro-based radio station WGNS, who sends out score text alerts for high school and MTSU games. It's a neat system, and a great way to keep everyone informed of what's going on when they can't be near a radio or at a game. I believe that people in and around GNASH would embrace this system, simply because they could get the scores in a timely manner, especially if they are keeping track of a certain team. It would also be helpful for people who are attending a game at Centennial Sportsplex, since Centennial doesn't use both of its rinks on a GNASH game night, unlike A-Game, where you can go back and forth from one rink to another. A score text alert would look like this:
For games being broadcast by MTSN only, text alerts would be sent out period-by-period. The texts would also be synced up to our Twitter account, which can now send Tweets to our Facebook page.
The Website we are planning to use for this system is TXTsignal.com, the same site WGNS uses for their scores. The site has affordable packages for group text messaging. The package we are wanting to use is the Premium package, which allows for a maximum of 1,500 contacts, and 240 group messages per month. The package costs $40 per month.
This is where you come in.
We need $240 (though the fundraiser does allow for us to go over our goal) to utilize this system for six months, the duration of a GNASH season - mid-October to early March. If the system proves to be a success the first time around, we will seek sponsorship for it for 2014-15, so we don't have to do the fundraising thing again.
You can donate any amount you want to this project, whether it be a dollar, $5, $100, or more.
To answer the most important question you may have: yes, the text alerts will be FREE to sign up for, though charges may apply from your service provider if receiving texts isn't a part of your plan.
At the moment, the network does not have a bank account, so the money will go into my (Michael Hackney) personal Paypal; however, once we reach the end of the fundraising campaign, any amount donated to the project will be withdrawn from my personal bank account, and go towards setting up a business account for the network. Since, though, the fundraising deadline is so close to the start of the new season, the first month will probably be paid for out of my own pocket, since setting up a business account takes a little while.
If you have any other questions, don't hesitate to contact me at midtennsportsnet at gmail dot com, and visit our Website at MTSNonline.com! Thanks in advance for your support.