For alumni who are unable to attend the Lehigh v. Lafayette Rivalry in person, telecasts offer an opportunity for them to feel like they’re cheering in the stadium and still enjoying some of the best parts of the game, including the presence of their rivals and reconnecting with old friends.
This year, telecasts are being hosted in 44 cities across the country by both Lehigh and Lafayette alumni, said Joanna Hatzis, the assistant director of regional and affinity strategy of Development and Alumni Relations. Attendees can pre-register for their local telecasts through MyLehigh or walk into the telecast location on the day of the game. The telecasts begin at 11:30 EST, roughly 30 minutes before kickoff, per the telecast’s webpage.
According to the telecast webpage, for over 40 years, from the age of television antennae to streaming services, Lehigh alumni have been sponsoring group telecasts in cities and towns all over the United States — from Honolulu, Hawaii, to Miami, Florida — to give anyone interested a chance to tune into the game.
She said the telecasts mostly take place at sports bars and restaurants and are hosted by a wide array of alumni of varying ages and graduation years, she said.
Sarah McClutchy, ‘08, said she is hosting a telecast for the first time this year after recently moving to Washington, D.C.
McClutchy said she’s eager to reconnect with her graduating class and meet new faces at her telecast, which is taking place at Parlay DC Sports Bar & Rooftop in Glover Park. She’s also looking forward to the event because of the nostalgia the game brings her and the rest of the alumni community.
“It has a sentimental meaning, I think, for a lot of people,” McClutchy said. “And it’s just a special day to reconnect with that time of your life.”
Hatzis said she’s the staff contact for all Le-Laf telecast events this year.
She’s responsible for packing up boxes of gear for the telecast venues and their respective hosts. Current and previous boxes include vintage Le-Laf prints, rally towels and coasters.
She said the spirit in the office is “really high,” and “it’s a really fun week” while the Development and Alumni Relations Office is packing boxes of spiritwear.
Hatzis also noted alumni should attend a telecast as opposed to watching the game at home because the presence of rivals makes the game more enjoyable.
Adam Goldstein, ‘16, is the host of the San Francisco telecast at SWAY, a local community space, and said he feels similarly.
“I know that we’re gonna win this year, so I invited a few Lafayette people to come just to make sure that they were able to witness it on the big screen,” Goldstein said.
San Francisco, the home of Lehigh@NasdaqCenter and an extensive alumni community, is three hours behind Bethlehem. So, Goldstein’s telecast starts at 8:30 a.m. PST, and attendees must arrive by 9:00 a.m. to see the kickoff.
Goldstein said Le-Laf on the West Coast becomes more of a breakfast, serving coffee and mimosas for attendees.
In Pittsburgh, Tim Syciarz, ‘09, is a host of the Pittsburgh telecast at Gordo’s Tacos and Tequila. He is expecting his “small, but enthusiastic community” to show up simply for the shared experience of reminiscing and a strong sense of community many alumni enjoy.
“It’s about finding a venue and streaming the game,” Syciarz said about the logistics of hosting, which he has been doing for the past six to seven years.
Hatzis said Development and Alumni Relations anticipates a portion of younger alumni will opt to go to Lehigh instead of attending a telecast this year because The Rivalry is taking place at home.
“Attending a telecast, you can reconnect with folks you haven’t seen in a while. People can get away and just enjoy a few hours, remembering some good times that we had, catching up with people that I haven’t seen in a while, and maybe even meeting some new people,” McClutchy said.