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Cibola grad’s team streams prep sports on Internet

(Marla Brose/Journal)

(Marla Brose/Journal)

RIO RANCHO, N.M. — Cibola High School graduate J.D. Healy has made a habit of turning career opportunities outside his realm of experience into successful endeavors.

He studied creative writing at the University of New Mexico, but his first job outside of college was working as an investigator for a small law firm in San Diego specializing in pursuing claims against companies that defrauded the U.S. government.

Then he moved back to his native New York to become a broker on Wall Street. But a year before the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, his wife died. And during the attacks, his brother-in-law, who had helped coax him into the business, was killed.

On the web

He then gave his bosses notice that in two years, he was leaving the business and New York, heading for the unknown.

That unknown turned out to be the known as he and his two young children decided Albuquerque would be a good place to start their life over – “a do-over,” Healy said.

Eventually, he and partner Steve Davis, a former Sandia boys basketball coach who made his money in construction, and Michael Vigil, took over a business that streamed live high school sporting events on the Internet and called it ProView Networks.

“Here we are, a builder and a broker from Wall Street,” Healy said. “What did we know about broadcasting? We made mistakes, but we learned.”

The company first landed a five-year deal with the New Mexico Activities Association to broadcast all of its state championships games. And not just the high-profile basketball tournament, but ProView airs everything from six-man football to volleyball to baseball to swimming.

“We quickly realized there was quite a time gap between state championships, so we wanted something to fill in the gaps,” Healy said.

ProView was able to land an agreement with Albuquerque Public Schools to broadcast its regular-season sporting events.

The idea being, he said, “to give New Mexico athletes a chance to be seen and maybe get a scholarship.”

Athletes are so plentiful in Texas and California, for instance, that recruiters can see many potential recruits in one visit.

“But they have to justify a visit to New Mexico,” Healy said. “If they can see all of the games in one place, they’re going to watch. They’re going to watch it a lot because that’s their job. They can’t afford to miss the next Brian Urlacher because we have players like that here.”

What’s more, it allows out-of-town relatives, and even parents, to watch live, then relive their children’s triumphs.

The network has been gradually adding sponsors like Graphic Connection, the New Mexico National Guard and the Frontier Restaurant, but sometimes the money end of things has been something of a struggle.

“I like to say that the business end of things frequently is we have a burlap bag that we reach into and pull out a fish,” Healy said with a chuckle.

And it’s also added programming, like a weekly APS sports show, Red Menace TV, which follows the exploits of UNM athletics, and youth sports like the American Youth Basketball League championships and weekly Young America Football League games.

The channel is also adding non-sports programming like the 2013 Business Professionals of America Conference and the New Mexico DECA’s annual conference.

“When we came here, I wasn’t sure what I was going to do, but I knew I wanted to do something that was going to have an impact on the community,” Healy said. “I’ve been very fortunate. I’ve had great opportunities to make money my whole life. But money all by itself isn’t a good thing. What I’m doing now makes me happy.”
— This article appeared on page 02 of the Albuquerque Journal