A new webcasting service for adaptive sports, ParaSports Live, launched in early 2017 and will begin broadcasting sporting events this fall. The service will feature live streaming with commentary and play by play announcing for adaptive sports competitions across the country.
The service was founded by Tony Jackson, a graduate of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University with a focus on radio broadcasting. Jackson plays power soccer, and has been active in broadcasting power soccer tournaments, including commentating for the 2017 World Cup.
Jackson says that interest and positive feedback from the power soccer webcasts he’s done are what motivated him to start an adaptive sports broadcasting service with a wider reach. At first, ParaSports Live looks to cover wheelchair rugby, track and field and sled hockey, as well as power soccer competitions.
“None of those sports are really being shown outside of maybe the national championships or the Paralympics, so you don’t really see or hear about them,” he says. “There are tons of competitions that are happening all over the country all year long, every year, and none of them are being shown to anybody.”
Jackson aims to change that. His first broadcast will be from the Rugby Rampage, a wheelchair rugby tournament held October 21 and 22 in Durham, New Hampshire.
While the primary goal of the service is to increase visibility and access to adaptive sports, he also hopes to grow the coverage enough to provide a platform for others with disabilities to gain experience as broadcasters.
“A lot of people who want to be radio broadcasters start out in smaller markets, and smaller markets mean small towns, and often times small towns don’t have the resources to make it easy for people with physical disabilities to thrive or even survive,” he says. “I want ParaSports Live to be big enough that I can’t go cover all the events myself. Then I’ll have to go out and find other people with disabilities who aspire to work in radio or TV or sports and give them career opportunities to pursue their goals.”
Jackson has started a GoFundMe campaign, which he intends to wrap up at the end of September, to help cover first year operating expenses.