ORONO, Maine — University of Maine football and ice hockey fans will be able to watch free live video streams of all home games this season, the school announced in a news release Thursday.
Those additions mean all home athletic events will have free live video streams for the 2015-16 season.
“We have Black Bear fans in every state of the country as well as Canada and overseas,” UMaine Director of Athletics Karlton Creech said in a news release.
“Free streaming is one way for us to thank them for continuing to support our student-athletes and University of Maine athletics. We are thrilled to share the excitement of home games with all of Black Bear Nation and hope it will lead to further support at our games,” he added.
While there is a possibility that putting more UMaine games online could lead to a decrease in fan attendance, Creech said UMaine is following a trend in all sports of more exposure is better.
“The more contact you can offer to your fans, the more affinity you can build will lead to an increase in loyalty,” he told the BDN. “We’re taking an abundance mindset and want to get our product out to our fans as much as we can.”
Another important factor in putting more games online is reaching younger fans and building a fan base in the next generation, Creech added.
Younger fans are accessing their parents phones, tablets and other devices, and UMaine wants to reach them by offering games online, he said.
Fans interested in viewing sports outside of ice hockey and football will continue to have free access to UMaine’s America East teams through AmericaEast.TV. Football plays in the Colonial Athletic Association and the men’s and women’s hockey teams are Hockey East members.
UMaine football will host Rhode Island in its home opener on Sept. 26. Along with UMaine’s free stream, American Sports Network will broadcast the game.
Men’s ice hockey opens its season at Alfond Arena on Oct. 23 against New Brunswick while the women’s ice hockey team hosts defending Hockey East champion Boston University in its home opener on Oct. 4.
“Wherever you go, wherever you are, Maine hockey and the excitement of Alfond Arena is just a click away,” UMaine men’s ice hockey head coach Red Gendron said in the release.