By Greg Vandermause

Last summer, the Mankato Peppers softball organization rolled the dice and brought a pro fastpitch series to Caswell Park. The event was a success. In a deal that was announced in January 2019, the Peppers now have the exciting opportunity to host the Australian team under the branding of the Aussie Peppers. The Aussie Peppers, part of the NPF, will play their home games in North Mankato starting in June.   

Part of this opportunity was due to the streaming success they had with their media partner with Bethany’s production studio. Bethany students and recent alums streamed the entire series last June and now the Peppers are looking for Bethany to be a major player in their efforts this summer.  

“BLC Studios offers a very experienced and professional production and know the NPF league commissioner was very impressed with the game stream that BLC Studios produced,” said Matt Mangulis, VP of the of Mankato Peppers who organized the whole event. “This all made the decision to reach out to BLC Studios the best option for our game streams for 2019.”  

Media students at Bethany have interned at a wide variety of places throughout the years. Those experiences range from ESPN, Northwoods League Baseball, Fox Sports, to local media production houses and so much more.   

This time around, Bethany students will be tasked with more than just streaming games. Mangulis is hiring media interns to oversee their media efforts to build a brand and engage with the audience. The interns will be selected in February. Their responsibilities include running a media day, creating content, managing social media platforms and assist in coordinating the streaming of games which will involve other BLC students on gameday’s. 

“We need creative minds that are driven by passion to learn and create,” said Mangulis. “Equally as important is the ability to capture the talents and skill of our athletes so we can show the world just have amazing these women are.”  

For Bethany, this partnership is more than just media, as the Peppers will live on campus and practice at Bethany’s softball fields. “I believe having the Aussie Peppers on campus, as well as the overall media and high-profile athletes involved in the NPF League raises the bar for sure,” said Dan Nessler, Bethany softball coach and hall of famer. “People who never knew anything about Bethany Lutheran College will now begin to learn about our school in many ways.”  

Source: Matt Mangulis, NPF and Mankato Free Press. Created by Greg Vandermause using timetoast.com  

The experience will be something similar to what BLC Studios produces during the school year. Bethany students produce Minnesota State’s division one hockey on TV and run the video board in house. This past November, Bethany produced a women’s game on Fox Sports North 

The selected interns will get a pro team experience, right here in Mankato. They will use Bethany gear and equipment and create that content right in the studio wing. Internships such as this are important for students to gain meaningful experiences outside the classroom.  The goal of course is for those students to prove to other organizations that they can work independently and provide results.  

For the players coming to Mankato this summer, their motivation is clear. “These athletes will be trying to qualify for the 2020 Olympics in Japan and playing for the Australian National team, so very high-profile softball.” said Nessler.  

The Aussie Peppers arrive on Bethany’s campus Memorial Day Weekend. A media day event will take place shortly after and interns will get to work quickly to make social media gif’s, player headshots, intro videos and preseason production videos leading up to their first home game on Sunday, June 9th, vs Beijing Eagles.