Like most Friday nights during high school football season, Ron Roberson will be watching the Summerville Bears. But he won’t be bundled up in the stands in Tuolumne.
This week he’ll be watching the Bears live on YouTube from his hotel room in Detroit where he’ll be travelling for business.
Roberson is the president of the Summerville Bears’ Quarterback Club.
The idea for streaming came about as a stroke of luck, he said.
The company who provides the service, NorCal Sports TV, had connections to the area and were in town to stream the Sonora vs Summerville game earlier this season.
Roberson happened to sit by the person handling the game’s play-by-play.
They struck up a conversation and the rest is part of YouTube history.
“We’re really excited,” Roberson said. “We want to focus on the away games so we don’t take away from the audience.”
They’ll make an exception for that this week.
The company has streamed three games so far this season. And they’ll be on hand for homecoming Friday night when Summerville hosts Calaveras High School.
Kris Kraft, who volunteers with the quarterback club, has helped gather sponsors for the games.
During breaks in the game and timeouts, local business get their logo stretched across the screen until play resumes, she said.
The games’ reach has been impressive so far say Kraft and Roberson.
“We have alumni all over the United States that have been watching the first couple of live streams,” Kraft said.
The Sonora vs Summerville had as many as 1,000 viewers watching the game live. The Argonaut vs. Summerville game reached 600.
Roberson said they hope to grow those numbers once they figure out how to market the service to the public.
For now it’s growing on the grassroots level.
Like the Bears fans who have started to gather at The Mill at Black Oak Casino on Friday nights.
Some alumni and fans aren’t able to get out to the field or don’t want to brave the cold, said Kraft.
This week’s game against Calaveras will go live about 10 minutes before the 7 p.m. kickoff Roberson said.
When they’re over they’re archived and available to rewatch.