Maverick Digital Network provides step forward for Omaha athletics coverage


Jack Hoover

The Maverick Digital Network’s first two co-anchors, Matt Kirkle, left, and Owen Godberson, right. Photo by Jodeanne Brownlee.

It was a broadcast that was a year and a half in the making.

When Omaha hockey faced off against Alabama Huntsville in Game Two of their series on Oct. 12, 2019, a group of students were putting together a project behind the scenes and behind a camera.

As the action got underway on the ice at Baxter Arena, back at UNO’s Dodge campus, roughly 1.8 miles away from the arena, UNO students were being broadcast out on the National Collegiate Hockey Conference’s online streaming service alongside the game.

This broadcast marked a bit of history, as it was the inaugural outing of the new Maverick Digital Network (MDN), Omaha athletics’ new Maverick-exclusive television network. For over a year, members of the Omaha athletic department and College of Communication, Fine Arts and Media worked to turn this long-held vision into reality. The work did not come easy, however.

“It took a long time. It took a lot of hours to get MDN pumped out,” said UNO senior Owen Godberson. Godberson, alongside fellow UNO senior Matt Kirkle, served as the first anchors of an MDN broadcast.

While a number of faculty members would help with the show’s planning and the actual broadcast, it was students like Godberson and Kirkle who pushed for this idea and helped run the show. During filming, nearly every position, from the on-camera talent to the people operating the cameras, was filled by a student who volunteered their time to help with the program.

For pre-game coverage, post-game coverage and every intermission in between, student broadcasters provided online viewers with a breakdown of Maverick Hockey’s action and gave their analysis on the overall game. In addition, other news stories that were happening around Maverick athletics were also showcased during the broadcast.

The new network is still in its early days and remains, for the moment, very much in a trial phase. After the initial first broadcast on Oct. 12 two more broadcasts have followed, the most recent coming during Omaha hockey’s Feb. 1 game against Western Michigan. The broadcasts won’t end with just a few hockey games a year, however, as there are plans to make MDN much more far-reaching.

“The plan [for MDN] is to do every home hockey game next year, which is about 18 games total, and we are looking to do four basketball games throughout,” said Godberson. “Eventually the goal for athletics is every single game that is broadcasted has MDN along with it.

For a university and athletics department that is always hoping for bigger things, the Maverick Digital Network seems to be a step in the right direction. The fact that this effort is being led from the inside, by students who are passionate to see their university grow, can only mean good things for the future.