Why Georgia Tech’s spring game won’t be broadcast

Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson addresses his team following the 2017 spring game at Bobby Dodd Stadium. (AJC photo by Hyosub Shin)
Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson addresses his team following the 2017 spring game at Bobby Dodd Stadium. (AJC photo by Hyosub Shin)

Georgia Tech has broadcast its past four spring games online, but will not do so this year. The reason is that the athletic department has committed to using its in-house production capabilities to an online broadcast of the softball team’s home game against North Carolina, which also is being played Friday evening.

At the least, coach Paul Johnson wasn’t protesting the decision.

“There’s no advantage into giving your opponents the spring game,” he said Wednesday after the team’s 14th practice of the spring. “I just don’t know what you’d gain from that.”

While Tech’s offense does not vary season to season, the defense will be considerably different with new defensive coordinator Nate Woody.

Tech has company in not broadcasting its spring game. In the ACC, six other schools – Louisville, Miami, Pittsburgh, Syracuse, Virginia Tech and Wake Forest – did not broadcast their spring games. Representatives of two schools, speaking on condition their schools not be recognized, acknowledged that competitive advantage was at least part of the reason their schools’ games weren’t being streamed.

Boston College, Clemson, Duke, Florida State and N.C. State broadcast their spring games, all online on either ACC Network Extra or ESPN3. North Carolina did not have a spring game, nor will Virginia. Boston College, Duke, Florida State and N.C. State all chose to self-produce their games. An email to Clemson on the topic was not answered Wednesday.

Tech has the capacity to do one high-quality broadcast at a given time, athletic department spokesman Mike Flynn said, and chose not to produce two broadcasts of lesser quality. Flynn said that it wasn’t necessarily a decision of softball over the spring game, but noted that softball is in-season and that the series had been scheduled in advance of the spring game. The softball games will be streamed on ACC Network Extra.

“We’d love for our fans to come watch it,” Johnson said. “Come to the stadium. It’s going to be a nice night and beautiful weather. Come watch it live. When you can watch it sitting at home, sometimes it’s easier to do that.”

Johnson said that it would be different if ESPN wanted to broadcast the spring game on one of its channels, as it is doing with Georgia on Saturday, because of the potential to help recruiting.

“But to stream it?” he asked. “That doesn’t do anything for you.”