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Tackling the Spiders
The University of Richmond invested to bring TV exposure to its Football Championship Subdivision program in addition to occasional game coverage and short reports on local stations.
A behind-the-scenes look at the Spiders’ preseason training camp is being produced by 3PennyFilms, which undertook comparable projects in the past with Football Bowl Subdivision programs Maryland, Miami and Auburn, as well as with Marquette basketball.
Comcast Sports-Net will air two 30-minute shows on the Spiders.
“The thing that it gives us the ability to do is to let the people from the outside see the University of Richmond in a different light,” said second-year coach Latrell Scott. “It gives a chance to showcase the school, gives us a chance to showcase the city.”
UR and one of the founders of 3PennyFilms, Jess Atkinson, chose not to disclose the cost of production or air time for the Spiders’ reality programming, which has become a popular form of marketing in college athletics in recent years.
The schools’ interest is “basically, telling their stories. The best way in this day and age to do that is to just kind of open the doors up, go in, and show what’s going on,” said Atkinson, 49 and a former kicker at Maryland and for the Washington Redskins. He also spent 14 years as a TV anchor/reporter.
“Teams are always defined by that won-and-loss record. And yet, so much more goes into it,” Atkinson said. “So why not show that?
“It’s not an infomercial. We want it to be authentic, and that’s been the great part about dealing with Coach Scott. That’s what he wants. He wants us to see for ourselves what’s there, and tell that story.”
3PennyFilms, founded in 2009, is focusing on the Spiders’ efforts to climb back into championship contention in the CAA after going 6-5 last season (4-4 in the league).
A 3PennyFilms videographer/editor, Scott Davies, said crew members started following UR’s coaches, players and administrators Tuesday as they prepared for Friday’s launch of preseason practice. 3PennyFilms videographers will record coaches’ meetings, interaction among players and coaches, practices and other team functions leading up to the Sept. 3 opener at Duke.
3PennyFilms will shoot roughly 50 hours of video.
Last summer, the University of Virginia commissioned a series that focused on its football operation — “Virginia Football: The Building of a Program” — produced by another company. That also aired on Comcast SportsNet.
The first 30-minute UR episode will debut Aug. 21 at 9 p.m. It will be repeated Aug. 22 at 9 p.m. The second episode will run Aug. 28 at 9 p.m., and will be rebroadcast Aug. 29 at 9 p.m.
The full, hourlong show can be seen Aug. 30 at 7 p.m. and Aug. 31 at 4 p.m.
UR retained the right to review content.
“We’re going to be who we are,” Scott said. “We’re not a staff that makes so much racket that we’ll have a bunch to edit. We’re definitely smart about what we say to our kids in the first place.”
By: John O’Connor, RICHMOND TIMES-DISPATCH