“If there was a Varsity point for coverage, we’d win it. We’d win it every year.”
They’re the words of the student who headed up De Montfort Students’ Union (DSU)’s resident media group’s incredible coverage of De Montfort University’s best Varsity performance to date.
Andre Cowen is a second-year English Literature and Creative Writing student at DMU and also the Sports Officer at Demon Media. He coordinated the output alongside Abi Gibson, DemonFM's Head of News and Sport, Chris Leach, Sports and Societies Producer for DemonTV, and Connor Watson, Head of News and Sport for The Demon.
“That means I make contact with all of the teams within the university and around Leicester and basically work out how to get coverage for them,” he explained. “It’s also about how they can work with us to get a constant stream of content. It’s a really fun job.”
Andre also had the chance to commentate alongside men’s basketball’s ‘coach T’ – who also commentates games for Leicester Riders.
But the biggest sporting event of the year for the group – by far – is the annual grudge match between DMU and the University of Leicester (UoL).
“I headed that up,” Andre said. “I’d never run anything like it before, so it was a completely new experience for me and a lot of the team.
“But everyone knew what they had to do, and I was there to facilitate everything and make sure everything happened as it was supposed to.”
Between them, a core team of around 30 students – joined by many more volunteers across fixtures from volleyball to football and rugby to basketball – covered the sporting action as it happened on DemonFM across Leicester and via DemonTV online and on the ‘Vijay Patel-ly’.
The coverage was a real step up from what had gone before, Andre said. “Last year, it was a lot more radio-centric.
“[In 2016] I think I was on all but the rugby Varsity coverage, and even then, I was there at Welford Road.”
The group didn’t live stream any fixtures in 2016, but instead recorded both football and rugby matches.
“[Live streaming] is a different challenge in itself,” Andre explained. “Technical difficulties, that’s why! Normally, there’s the miracle of editing; but with live streaming you can’t do that.
“[This year,] having it up on the Vijay Patel-ly – on an Open Day as well – everything had to be planned out. The team worked extraordinarily well.”
Despite being edged out by UoL, the result was DMU's best Varsity performance to date.
But what did Andre make of DMU’s Varsity performance as a whole?
“It was definitely one of, if not the, best Varsity performances we’ve ever had.
“It’s been an absolutely incredible year. I’m a huge fan of [women’s basketball team] the DMU Pitbulls and I’ve been to every one of their games this year – basically at this point I’m their biggest fan – and I’m their adopted mascot.
“It was amazing to watch them; coming off two years of not winning a game and then winning seven out of 12 regular matches plus their Varsity. There were some phenomenal results like that that no-one expected.”
And with another year of his course to go, Andre will be back in 2018 to see battle commence once more – and he could see DMU just maybe wear the Varsity crown for the first time.
“I really hope so. And I definitely want to be involved again.
“In my first year, I was surprised at how much focus [Demon Media] put on Varsity, and this year it was even more incredible to be involved. It was definitely the best year for Varsity coverage we’ve ever had.”
Andre also promised that the group want to go bigger and better with their coverage in 2018, paying even more attention to even more sports.
“I think the most important people to thank are everyone who were in that team,” he said. “All of them have specialist skills. We played to each other’s strengths and that’s what’s great about Demon Media.
“It was brilliant just to see everyone get together and work on it, and it was incredibly rewarding. If you’d told me before I came to university that I would be heading up Varsity media coverage I wouldn’t have believed you.
“I can’t thank everyone who was involved enough. I’d also like to thank all of the sports clubs for their fantastic performances.”
You can catch up with some of Demon Media’s Varsity coverage on the DemonTV YouTube channel here.
Basketball was just one of a number of sports that wowed the crowds at the Leicester Arena – home to the Leicester Riders –? on 'Super Saturday'.