It’s Monday, November 6, 2023. Fairfield University Women’s Basketball is warming up on the court for their 7:00 p.m. game against Lehman College. Fans are slowly filling into the Leo D. Mahoney Arena. 

Across campus, 20-year-old Fairfield University student, Lily Kingdon, is sitting for the first time with the Stag Sports Network team in the Media Center’s control room. As time ticks down nearing the start of the game, Kingdon’s heart races faster and faster in anticipation. 

I like the idea of doing it in the moment—it’s more exciting. I’m nervous because I don’t want to mess it up, but at the same time, everybody’s really nice and they’ll walk me through it.

Lily Kingdon

She’s about to work on her first ever live sports broadcast, a dream she’s held onto since the eighth grade when a camera operator for the Celtics visited her middle school in Natick, Massachusetts. 

After hearing stories of his time working the jumbotron, capturing fans’ cheers and showcasing recaps and game highlights, Kingdon knew that working in sports media was what she is called to do. 

Sports has been an important part of Kingdon’s life for as long as she can remember. Each Sunday growing up, she looked forward to sitting in her family’s living room, watching football with her dad and two younger brothers.

Her mom signed her up to play soccer when she was six years old and for the first time, Kingdon went from watching sports teams on television to becoming a part of one herself. 

Little did she know the impact this would have on her for years to come. 

She soon branched out to play field hockey, lacrosse and tennis as well. In each sport, she developed several close friendships with her teammates, growing trust and respect on and off the field or court.

“I learned you can’t do it all by yourself,” Kingdon said. “I’ve been on teams where girls have wanted to score and not pass the ball, and we never ended up winning those games.”

This lesson still impacts Kingdon today and is part of the reason she was excited to be working with seven other students, as well as the Stag Sports Network staff for Monday night’s broadcast. 

“I really like working behind the camera and then seeing how the broadcast comes out,” she said, “especially when everybody has a very small job to do and you get to see it all come together.”

There’s many important behind-the-scenes jobs that go into producing Fairfield’s live sports broadcasts, which are streamed on ESPN for viewers to watch, she said. 

Similar to realizing the value of “passing the ball” off to her teammates when under pressure on the field, Kingdon enjoys being able to lean on her teammates now. 

“I don’t have to do everything by myself and can focus on my one thing—really putting all my effort and focus into it,” she said. “It takes a little bit of pressure off and I also like being able to lean on and meet new people.”

Kingdon worked as the graphics operator, communicating through headsets with the director and the wider team, during Monday night’s broadcast.

Although she felt nervous going in, she was mostly excited. Not only does she enjoy working within a team but she loves the thrill that comes with producing a live broadcast. 

“I like the idea of doing it in the moment—it’s more exciting,” she said. “I’m nervous because I don’t want to mess it up, but at the same time, everybody’s really nice and they’ll walk me through it.”

Kingdon began preparing for a role like this in high school, right after she set her mind toward a career within the sports media industry at the end of eighth grade. She took television, broadcasting and film classes at Natick High School, learning the ins and outs of camera operation and video production. 

After graduating high school, Kingdon continued working towards a career in sports at Fairfield University. Studying a major in film, television and media arts and a minor in sports media, she’s been able to strengthen her camera and video skills while also being well immersed in the world of sports. 

In fact, it was a sports media industry course Kingdon took as part of her minor that led her to work with Stag Sports Network. 

Her professor and Director of Sports Media, Adam Rugg, PhD., invited guest speaker and former news reporter, Ben Harvey, to speak to her class. Kingdon experienced what she calls a “lightbulb moment” when she heard Harvey mention Stag Sports Network in his talk. Right after class ended, she emailed Rugg to ask how she could get involved with Stag Sports Network, setting her sights on making it into the university’s Media Center’s control room.  

The rest is history. 

Looking into the future, Kingdon hopes her experience with Stag Sports Network will lead her to an exciting internship opportunity in the spring. She’s looking forward to applying for internships with New England Sports Network and NBC Sports, one of which could land her a job.

One day, Kingdon hopes to become a director or sound technician for a sports broadcasting company. 

If there’s one thing she’s always known: this is what she’s meant to do. 

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