Long before Matthew R. Meese (BS ’09) became Scott Sterling—“the man, the myth, the legend”—and overtook YouTube, he broke his leg in a BYU intramural soccer game.
“It was nice and loud. It was everything you’d expect it to be,” Meese recalls with flair. “Not being able to move has a tendency to depress.” In his immobilization, he says, “I just thought about acting one day, and it really lifted my spirits. I thought, ‘I should probably chase that feeling,’ and that was the first thing that led me to all of this.”
BYU Broadcasting managing director Derek A. Marquis (BA ’88, MA ’03) is glad he did. “All of this” is now the comedy sketch show Studio C, which Meese pitched to BYUtv in 2010. It’s one of the network’s most-watched programs through traditional television delivery—and its anchor online, where “without exception,” says Marquis, “Studio C dominates.”
That domination reached new heights last fall with the introduction of Scott Sterling, the unbeatable goalkeeper who, from the fetal position, a chair—even while crawling out of the penalty box—saves five shots with his face in a soccer shootout.
In the first 24 hours the sketch was posted on BYUtv’s YouTube channel, it notched 1 million views. One week later, it was the no. 1 trending video on YouTube. Within a month Sterling had netted more than 70 million views across Web platforms.
Taking five in the face, Sterling garnered 30,000 new subscribers for BYUtv’s YouTube channel overnight.
That number then doubled—within two weeks they saw a 40 percent increase in subscribers. “People who discovered one single sketch . . . are now discovering other BYUtv content,” says Marquis.
It wasn’t even the video the Studio C team expected to go viral.
“No one thought twice about the international appeal of soccer,” says producer Jared N. Shores (BS ’10), who at the time Sterling came out was busy promoting Studio C’s Hunger Games parodies (the most popular, Peeta’s Song, surpassed 1 million views).
While tapping into the world’s sport wasn’t intentional, Shores says, appealing to a wide audience is. “There’s a demand out there that other networks are choosing to ignore,” he says: a demand for family-friendly humor that Studio C meets by putting Snape on the Bachelorette, categorizing Facebook friends, and revisiting its iconic, human-sized shoulder angel.
“We’re just going to keep having fun,” says Meese, who wrote the Sterling sketch and is toying with a sequel for season 6. “That’s the key ingredient.”