Huskers gear up to offer a virtual Game Day experience

Nebraska City News-Press

Traditions of Husker football game day are coming to the comfort of your home.

With fan access to Memorial Stadium limited to primarily cardboard cutouts, the University of Nebraska Athletic Department and HuskerVision are teaming up to deliver a “Second Screen” virtual game day experience.

Available for free during all home games, the virtual offering is intended to supplement TV broadcasts and will be delivered via the Husker football Facebook page, and the Nebraska Huskers app. Content will feature everything Husker fans would experience in the stands and around the stadium on a football Saturday — from the Tunnel Walk and Cornhusker Marching Band on the field to current statistics and player features on the big video screens.

“Fans who participate are going to get an experience similar to being in a Memorial Stadium suite on game day,” said Brandon Meier, senior associate athletic director for marketing and multimedia. “Normally, our suites have a couple of TVs, one showing the game broadcast and the another tied into the HuskerVision feed with real-time statistics, head shots of players and video features.”

To ready for the season, the HuskerVision team has pre-recorded a number of features, including the Cornhusker Marching Band’s pregame and halftime performances, cheer squad leading a traditional “Husker Power” cheer, a Scarlets dance routine, and “crowd” shots of the cardboard cutout fans.

“The first home game against Wisconsin will include special homecoming festivities and military shoutouts for soldiers overseas,” Meier said.

This is the second year Huskers are offering the second screen option. Last year, it featured a live pregame livestream that allowed Husker fans to interact with each other while watching team warm-ups. Meier said the pregame livestream drew 60,000 to 80,000 fans each week.

“It showed the incredible community that is Husker Nation,” Meier said. “We had so many comments, people shouting out ‘Go Big Red’ from their basement, from Alaska, from Japan, from all over the world actually.

“This livestream is a chance for us to keep Husker Nation’s game day traditions alive while also helping maintain a sense of community during a time when we can’t come together to celebrate Big Red football.”

The pregame livestream for home games will be hosted by sportscaster Kevin Sjuts and former Husker and retired NFL lineman Jeremiah Sirles.

Meier said a simpler pregame livestream with one camera focused on Husker warm-up activities, will be offered for road games. The livestream will stop prior to kickoff for the away contests.

And, while the HuskerVision team works to offer a virtual game day experience for fans, they’re also on track to create an authentic stadium experience for players on the field. Those plans include live military flyovers, fireworks when Huskers score and custom Husker fan audio files provided by EA Sports.

“They’re the same audio files EA Sports used in their video games for Nebraska and they are amazing,” Meier said. “While we won’t have 90,000 Husker faithful in the seats, we’re doing everything we can to make it feel like it’s game day at Nebraska for our fans around the world and all the kids suited up on the field.”

Fans are reminded that there will be no access to Memorial Stadium during Husker home games in the 2020 season. The university is also not allowing tailgating on campus. Learn more about the Husker football’s 2020 season.