ParaSportsLive was founded by Tony Jackson with the mission of delivering adaptive sports experiences to audiences everywhere. Tony recently sat down with the CURE NATION to share about his history, ParaSportLive’s first official broadcast event and his vision for the future.
Tony’s Path to ParaSportsLive
People had always asked Tony Jackson if he had ever considered a career in radio because he had one of those voices that was tough to forget. He had started out with a focus in social work, which was fueled by an interest to work with and empower other people with disabilities. But, in time, he decided to give broadcasting a shot and eventually graduated from Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism.
While attending Arizona State, Tony learned the ropes of radio at the college station and honed his skills in audio production. As he began looking for jobs in his new field, though, he hit some road blocks. Broadcasting jobs are limited to start with, but he was also up against all-too-common misconceptions about his disability, which is Arthogryposis, and a less than favorable economy.
VIDEO: see What ParaSportsLive Covers
In 2009, Tony had discovered power soccer when a friend gave him a DVD of a world cup tournament. Tony says he remembers being amazed by what he saw and it stayed on his mind, but it wasn’t until later that he participated for the first time.
“One fateful day in mid January, I saw a sign on the way to the grocery store. I went inside and a power soccer tournament was going on. I watched and loved it. A couple weeks later, I went to my first practice.” Tony explains.
Unable to find the ideal job in broadcasting, Tony went to work for Virginia G. Piper Sports and Fitness Center (now Ability360) in Phoenix, Arizona. There, he was exposed to additional adaptive sports and passionate athletes with all disabilities, and he also began to uncover his skills as a live sports broadcaster.
In 2012, Tony did his first live commentary for a power soccer tournament – and the rest is history.
Soon after, Tony went to work for the Power Soccer Shop in Minnesota, where he traveled the world broadcasting live events. He has covered tournaments in France, Ireland and in late 2017, he returns to Rio, Brazil, for another play-by-play broadcast.
Branching Out with ParaSportsLive
Tony currently lives in New Hampshire and works with Northeast Passage, an organization that empowers people with disabilities to play adaptive sports and achieve their recreational goals. He loves the work he does and continues to travel the world covering power soccer events for the Power Soccer Store. But, behind the scenes, he’s been working hard building ParaSportsLive.
ParaSportsLive will cover adaptive sport tournaments and events worldwide to honor the athletes, give them visibility to loved ones that may be far away and promote the various sports.
Viewers can expect high-quality live feeds from the events Tony attends, but he’ll also archive all broadcasts on his YouTube Channel for later viewing.
In late October, ParaSportsLive had their first live broadcast at 2017 Kennebunk Savings Rugby Rampage in Durham, New Hampshire. The event went off without a hitch and the broadcast had nearly a thousand viewers.
“Adaptive sports athletes train hard and display amazing feats of strength, discipline, and a commitment to excellence. We will give you the opportunity to see these athletes for yourself, no matter where you are,” Tony says.
As of now, Tony is continuing to build relationships with other adaptive sports organizations that host or coordinate events, as well as sports teams that may be interested in live coverage.
To inquire about ParaSportsLive covering your event, you can contact them here.
Tony says his ultimate goal is to eventually have so many events, he can’t be at all of them. This will create opportunities for other broadcasters with disabilities – a component of his business that is very close to Tony’s heart.
“One of the reasons I started ParaSportsLive was remembering how hard it was to get a broadcasting job.”
“So many people dream of being a sports broadcaster, working on ESPN, etc. I want to be able to hire these people that may not have opportunities elsewhere,” Tony adds.
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