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Huskers to implement new pilot captioning program

(KOLNKGIN)
Published: Aug. 22, 2017 at 4:22 PM CDT
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When the Huskers take the field for the first home game against Arkansas State on September 2nd in Memorial Stadium, all fans will have access to a new captioning program that will enhance the football game-day experience for hearing impaired fans and for anyone who has ever missed the referee’s call or the PA announcement.

All play descriptions, scoring, player information, referee and penalty announcements, in-game promotions, entertainment action, advertising videos, emergency messaging, and post-game messages will be transcribed. The information will be distributed to all fans via Twitter at @HuskerCaption. Fans who do not have devices enabled to access Twitter may check out iPads at the East and West Stadium Guest Services.

Christy Horn, Nebraska’s ADA/504 Compliance Officer said this service is unique because it “allows fans to be able to read captioning on mobile devices anywhere in and around Memorial Stadium.” Additionally, the information sent via Twitter does not disappear after the conclusion of the play, but remains as part of the Twitter feed until deleted. Memorial Stadium Guest Services will still have assistive listening devices available for check out by fans who do not wish to participate in the pilot.

Unlike pre-produced content, which typically uses an off-line captioning process, live and unscripted events require real-time captioning. To achieve this, the Huskers will utilize three game-knowledgeable transcribers, who will be located onsite in West Memorial Stadium, rather than using a third party located outside of the stadium. This will allow our fans to have nearly instantaneous and highly accurate information.

When determining how to best stream the captioning, Nebraska considered all options. It was vital that the service should be available to every fan regardless of where their seats were located or where they were positioned in the stadium at any time and therefore a mobile device was determined to be the best option. This allows the fan to keep the device and the play in their line of sight instead of turning away from the field to view the caption on another screen. Additionally, Twitter was chosen over other applications because the Twitter feed remains available to view after the play.

Senior Associate Athletic Director for Marketing and Communications David Witty said, “The addition of captioning in our stadium is another way for us to improve the fan experience for everyone at Memorial Stadium. Now fans have WiFi access, ability to see replays on the big screens, hear clear audio and can read complete transcriptions of all action and programming on game day.”

Following the football season, Nebraska Athletics and the ADA/504 Compliance Officer will review all the fan input received on the pilot program and conduct fan focus groups across the state before making decisions going forward regarding captioning via Twitter. Fans are encouraged to share their game-day experience here. If fans prefer to communicate directly with the ADA/504 Compliance Officer, they are welcome to email access@unl.edu.