GameDay brings the games to you live

As The Day begins a new decade, its sports department continues to explore new ways to bring its readers the most comprehensive local coverage in southeastern Connecticut — not only in print but online.

It starts with 14 high schools in the region, including 10 members of the Eastern Connecticut Conference, and features daily coverage of five local colleges, including three Division III programs in New London — Coast Guard Academy, Connecticut College and Mitchell College.

Add the WNBA’s Connecticut Sun and the National Lacrosse League’s New England Black Wolves — the state’s only major professional sports franchises who call Mohegan Sun Arena their home — and you can see why these are exciting times for The Day and its loyal subscribers.

Our readers will get to view more expansion on www.theday.com, where our “GameDay” brand has taken on a more prominent role through regularly scheduled live-streamed events. This fall, GameDay videos were watched about 330,000 times. In the course of a high school year, viewership goes over 1 million total.

The GameDay staff, led by director of multimedia Peter Huoppi, streams a variety of high school games during the regular season, as well as post-season events including state football playoff games and ECC championships in basketball, baseball, cheerleading, lacrosse, soccer and wrestling. Fans watch the games live on their phones, tablets and TVs.

In producing these popular events, Huoppi spends countless hours at the various schools interviewing athletes and coaches prior to going live. This allows us the opportunity to supplement our streams with some great storytelling about the people we cover. Huoppi is also responsible for contacting administrators in advance for site walkthroughs to ensure a seamless set-up on days we go live.

Most of the live streams feature the announcing team of Casey O’Neill and Keith "The Sports Doctor" O'Brien, who are well known to local sports fans.

GameDay will have another robust schedule in 2020, including live coverage of the ECC boys’ and girls’ basketball championships at Mohegan Sun Arena. Visit www.theday.com/gameday for an updated schedule and to view archived footage.

Storytelling remains a major part of The Day’s print edition, too, highlighted by the selection of our All-Area high school all-star teams each season. These teams, selected by the six-person sports staff, are chosen from the 14 schools in our coverage area and feature the selection of an Athlete of the Year in each sport. These athletes are invited to The Day for portrait and video sessions, then featured in print and online.

The Day held its inaugural Athlete of the Year Awards Banquet in 2019 at Ocean Beach Park in New London. More than 150 people attended the banquet where we recognized our Athletes of the Year, culminated by naming our first overall Male and Female Athletes of the Year — New London’s Jacob Commander (all-state in football and baseball) and four-time state champion Mya Johnson of Old Lyme. The Day also selected Waterford’s Bill Bassett (basketball) as our Coach of the Year in a male sport and Old Lyme’s Paul Gleason (soccer) as our Coach of the Year in a female sport.

Plans are in process for an expanded 2020 banquet in June.

By the Numbers

Total online viewership

ECC boys basketball finals: 8235

Killingly-Waterford football: 6877

Waterford-East Lyme boys basketball: 6674

Granby-Waterford football: 5331

NL-NFA football: 5081

2019 ECC boys basketball semis: 3772

Waterford-East Lyme football: 3329

Killingly-NFA football: 2548

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