It’s Sunday night at 5:00 p.m. For some, this means heading to the library to catch up on procrastinated homework. Others eat dinner with friends or family. Many rush to club meetings and group projects. For U-M School of Kinesiology juniors J.J. Wachler and Ben Meyers, however, Sunday night means one thing: time for “The Spew.”
“The Spew” is a five-minute Facebook TV show that focuses on the University of Michigan athletics and its athletes. In the short time span, host Ben Meyers “spews” statistics, stories and theories about sports. They often have athletic guests to share their opinions, such as football running back and School of Kinesiology sophomore Chris Evans. At face value, it sounds similar to a show on SportsCenter or Big Ten Network. What makes “The Spew” different, however, is Wachler and Meyer’s approach to telling these sports stories.
Meyers explained how their platform is unique to the University student experience: “We wanted to build a bridge between the students and the athletes on campus.”
Recognizing a major issue with athletics on campus — that the athletes are untouchable, so to speak — the pair set out to connect “regular” students to athletes. The decision to report on sports from a student perspective is what makes the show so relatable to their peers.
“Athletes are constantly in rooms where adults are asking them questions. They’re just being hammered about their statistics, scores and stats. It’s refreshing for them to have questions about their Yeezys, their recruiting stories … the student side of things.”
The approach is working for them. Launched last February, the show now averages 5,000 views per episode. Loyal fans tune in each week to watch and ask questions. A unique element of the show is the live-stream function, which allows viewers to pose questions and react to the athletes and Meyers in real time. Some of the comments are silly, but others spark interesting conversations.
Meyers and Wachler are ahead of the curve when it comes to streaming on Facebook Live. Just last month, Facebook introduced their “watch” feature, which includes original content that viewers can comment on, share and interact with. It is one of the most accessible ways to watch media content.
“They [the viewers] could sit down for five minutes on the platform they’re already on, Facebook, and watch our show and then be done for the day — it’s a nice little break,” Meyers added.
Their innovative approach to sports reporting hasn’t gone unnoticed. Wachler and Meyers recently won the Michigan Sports Business Conference “Sports Startup Competition.” As winners, the duo will present “The Spew” to sports business professionals and get feedback on their platform. With aspirations to create a format that can be replicated and rolled out at other colleges, this opportunity is pivotal. On a more local scale, they’ve found sponsors eager to join in: Salads Up, Campus Laundry and Valiant Clothing have all signed on.
What started as two friends talking sports in an apartment living room has evolved into a six-person operation with corporate sponsors and big plans. Wachler and Meyers are hungry to make waves in the sports media sector, and have taken it upon themselves to do so. Using Facebook Live to innovate, they’ve created a unique sports experience that isn’t Sunday night football. They’ve created Sunday night “Spew.”
The Spew airs live Sundays at 5:00 p.m. You can stream it on Facebook here.