By Amit Shilton
Over 10 years ago with the Internet still in its infancy, Ray Williams was dreaming of broadcasting amateur sports games.
The former CFRB sports anchor’s vision came to life at last Sunday’s men’s volleyball game. The Ryerson Rams have agreed on a nine-game radio broadcast package with Williams, paying him $250 per game.
The broadcasts will include men’s and women’s basketball and volleyball games, and can be found on the department of sports and recreation’s website.
Williams will control the play-by-play, while Derek Poon and Drew Ebanks will provide colour commentary for volleyball and basketball games respectively. Williams says he hopes the broadcasts will shine a spotlight on amateur sports in Toronto, where the major media outlets tend to focus on professional teams.
“We have a rich and high quality of sports but, because no one is covering it, no one is finding out about it,” he said. The web broadcasts are only the latest development in the department of sport and recreation’s attempt at getting the Rams’ teams more exposure. “We’re really trying to promote ourselves in many different ways,” said David Dubois, director of sports and recreation. “It’s a start for us, hopefully we can get some video coverage.”
Since the games are broadcast over the Internet, costs will be kept a lot lower than video broadcasts while still reaching a relatively large audience. “With the Internet widely available, it’s the perfect time to do it. You can connect so many people around the world,” Williams said. Some of the people Williams is looking to connect are parents from around Ontario and the rest of the world.
“Look at the roster on the volleyball team, you have players from the Ukraine, all over Ontario,” he said. “(Parents) can sit at home and listen to their son and daughter play their sports hundreds of miles away.”
For Rams volleyball star Ryan Vandenburg, the broadcasts mean his friends and family can follow him from his hometown of Wooler, ON. “It’s nice because my family lives a far ways away and my friends can’t make it out,” Vandenburg said. “If you can’t make it out, they can at least listen to it on the radio.”
Meanwhile, Dubois feels that the broadcasts will not only serve the interest of Ryerson fans and parents, but also be able to connect fans from other teams.
Once the 10 games are over, Dubois said the department will analyze the effectiveness of the broadcasts and whether to continue them for the rest of the year.