One of Indiana University's most recognizable graduates has donated $5 million to launch a “transformative” video, broadcasting and technology center. The schools says the Mark Cuban Center for Sports Media and Technology will make the athletic department “the national leader” in 3-D broadcast, replay and virtual reality capabilities. It will be located at Assembly Hall, currently undergoing a $150 million makeover, and is expected to open in the spring of 2017. June 5, 2015
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – IU Athletics has received a $5 million gift from IU alumnus Mark Cuban to create a first-of-its-kind, cutting-edge, student-focused video, broadcasting and technology center, Indiana University President Michael A. McRobbie has announced. Among other things, this gift will make IU Athletics the national leader in 3-D broadcast and replay, virtual reality, and 3-D virtual studio technologies.
In honor of Cuban's transformative gift and creative input, the center will be named the Mark Cuban Center for Sports Media and Technology when it becomes fully operational following the completed renovations at Assembly Hall in the spring of 2017.
“We are extremely grateful to Mark Cuban for his remarkable generosity and his commitment to ensuring that Indiana University remains at the forefront of preparing our graduates for highly successful and rewarding careers,” McRobbie said. “This pioneering new center will provide IU students across the university with unprecedented access to the newest and most leading-edge media tools currently available in the technological marketplace. Furthermore, it will transform the collegiate athletics experience for our student-athletes as well as the many Hoosiers fans here in Indiana and around the world.”
Housed in the west side of the future Simon-Skjodt Assembly Hall, the Mark Cuban Center for Sports Media and Technology will partner with academic units on campus to provide opportunities for students in various media and technology disciplines by allowing them to use cutting-edge technology and equipment to hone their skills and produce high-quality professional content. Using the center's resources, IU students will produce a wide variety of media content for IU Athletics including virtual-reality videos for fan experience, athlete instruction, recruiting videos and social media, as well as video-board displays, team-specific shows and live event broadcasts for all 24 IU sports.
“I am so excited to work with Indiana University to bring us into the future of sports media, broadcasting and analytics,” Cuban said.
In the collaborative spirit of the center, IU Athletics will engage the broader campus community in providing student personnel and/or curriculum to support the efforts of the center. This will be done in areas as wide ranging as virtual reality, gaming, studio production, game-day video production, motion and broadcast graphics, promotional location production, reporting and play-by-play, and game live casting.
IU Athletics has already enlisted support for the center from The Media School, IU Radio TV Services, the School of Informatics and the Advanced Visualization Lab. Adhering to Cuban's vision, the center will be open source and student driven to help develop, in his words, “the type of students you want to hire.”
Along with his generous gift to IU Athletics, Cuban has provided his professional expertise to shape the mission and technologies to be used in the center. Under Cuban's direction, IU Athletics will be among the first athletic departments in the country to adopt and utilize a wide array of cutting-edge video and media technologies.
“Mark Cuban's name is synonymous with innovation, technology, media and sports,” Director of Athletics Fred Glass said. “I cannot imagine a person better suited to be the namesake for, and godfather of, our Center for Sports Media and Technology. His extremely generous gift is transformative and will make Indiana University Athletics America's elite institution in this field. Go IU, and go class of 1981!”
IU Athletics will be the first college athletic department to use “freeD” from Replay Technologies. This technology will be installed in both Assembly Hall and Memorial Stadium this summer to give IU fans a one-of-a-kind 3-D video-board experience, as well as enabling IU to create unique highlight and recruiting videos. FreeD allows for the capturing of almost an infinite scene. The camera angles are limitless, giving the director new angles that go not only around the action but above it, and even in-between the players.
IU Athletics will be one of the first athletic departments in the country to substantially use virtual reality. Unlike other athletic departments that have also been early adopters of virtual-reality technology, IU Athletics will not be outsourcing its content and video. In collaboration with students and faculty on campus, IU Athletics will independently create virtual-reality content for use in athlete instruction and in-venue fan experience, and to interact with fans on the Internet and social media.
IU Athletics will house virtual studios from Orad Hi-Tec Systems. Orad is a world-leading provider of real-time 3-D video graphic solutions, including sports production and enhancement, special events, virtual studios and virtual advertisement. IU is the first athletic department in the country to purchase and house an Orad virtual studio, and the technology will be used to enhance video-board elements and athlete and coach interviews, and for pregame/halftime/postgame shows for live event streams.
“The Media School is delighted to be part of this initiative, and we are especially looking forward to the many exciting opportunities for students to gain exposure to and experience with cutting-edge technologies,” said James Shanahan, founding dean of The Media School at IU. “Especially in concert with activities of the National Sports Journalism Center, this gift will help Indiana attract and train the best talent in sports communication.”
Substantial investments in cameras, lighting kits, audio-recording technology, video-editing stations and broadcast equipment will also be included in the center. Students will have 24-hour access to parts of the facility to provide them with quality workspace that conforms to their schedules.
The number of live streams of events and competitions, using all-student crews and broadcasters, will also be greatly expanded, giving all IU teams increased coverage that is beneficial in recruiting. The Orad virtual studio and freeD will be used to accentuate and further professionalize these broadcasts.
Originally from Pittsburgh, Cuban earned a Bachelor of Science in management and administration from the Kelley School of Business in 1981. After graduating from Indiana University, he relocated to Dallas, where he founded a computer consulting service, MicroSolutions, which he later sold to CompuServe in 1990 for $6 million.
In 1995, Cuban and longtime friend Todd Wagner came up with an Internet-based solution to not being able to listen to Hoosiers basketball games out in Texas. That solution was Broadcast.com — streaming audio over the Internet. In just four short years, Broadcast.com (then Audionet) was sold to Yahoo for $5.6 billion.
Since his acquisition of the Dallas Mavericks in 2000, Cuban has overseen the Mavs competing in the NBA Finals for the first time in franchise history in 2006 — and becoming NBA World Champions in 2011. They are listed as one of Forbes' most valuable franchises in sports.
Cuban is also chairman and CEO of AXS tv, one of ABC's “Sharks” on the hit show “Shark Tank” and an investor in an ever-growing portfolio of businesses. He lives in Dallas with wife, Tiffany; daughters, Alexis and Alyssa; and son, Jake.
Cuban is a member of the IU Foundation Presidents Circle and lifetime member of the IU Alumni Association. In 1998