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147,000 eyes on Antigonish

Kristina Richard of Antigonish and Joy MacLachlan of Halifax make the baton exchange for Team Nova Scotia during a 4X100m relay race Saturday afternoon on the final day at the Special Olympics Canada 2018 Summer Games in Antigonish. Corey LeBlanc
A scene from the 2018 Special Olympics Summer Games in which Kristina Richard of Antigonish and Joy MacLachlan of Halifax make the baton exchange for Team Nova Scotia during a 4X100m relay race. The relay race was one of many events lives streamed on the Internet, reaching a significantly broader audience than just the spectators on the St. F.X. campus. Corey Leblanc photo

Special Olympics reaches broader audience across Canada

The eyes of the nation were on Antigonish during the Special Olympics event - and Matt Quinn has the numbers to prove it.

Although a formal report outlining specific tangible economic impacts on the town was not available before the press deadline, there was another measure of the influence the event had in Antigonish – it got people watching what went on in Antigonish via an online stream.

Quinn, who was the Summer Games manager, says a streaming report relating to the Games showed that feeds of the sporting events, opening, closing and medal ceremonies attracted over 147,000 views online.

That might not be all, either. Quinn noted the number of people actually viewing online could be significantly higher, since each view was simply registering a device – one that more than one person could have been watching.

Bell, the company providing streaming service, says the potential number of viewers seeing the Games streamed could have been 2.5 per cent higher than the numbers clocked.

“This was one of the first time, all of the sports – with a couple of exceptions – were all streamed online,” Quinn said. “Based on past Games, the 2018 Summer Games in Antigonish have been streamed more than we have provided before. We had full coverage for swimming, track, bocce, rhythmic gymnastics, powerlifting – everything. Those events were fully covered, from start to finish.”

The only sports that were not entirely streamed were softball and soccer. In those cases, there were situations where two games went on at once, and only one could be streamed at a time.

“I don’t know if it was a record, as far as our ability to provide live streaming for the sports, but it’s something that we, as an organizing committee, wanted to try and provide for the national Games," Quinn said. "We saw what we were able to do as an accomplishment.”

Quinn credits the internet infrastructure at St. F.X., referring to the hard lines that allowed the Games to be streamed easily.

Along with thorough streaming coverage of the events and ceremonies, Quinn added that another online resource that proved helpful was the searchable scoring database available online, “something that allows you search for a specific athlete or sport, and get that score live – or at least as soon as they are posted. That way, you can know the results instead of waiting a day.”

Quinn, who is also a program director with Special Olympics Nova Scotia, said that without the added stress of long-distance travel plans, it was easier for Special Olympics Nova Scotia to plan and coordinate.

“A common thread among the guests at the Games was that they found the Games amazing, they also said (the Games) ‘are so relaxed.’ There’s always a certain hustle and bustle with the Games that will never go away,” he said. “With the speed and the things going on all around you, it’s nice to hear how people were finding it a nice, easygoing environment.”

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