AUGUSTA, Maine — Live, online video streaming of high school state championship contests in sports sponsored by the Maine Principals’ Association will be available worldwide beginning this fall.
The MPA has entered into an national partnership to provide a subscription-based all-digital service for many of its postseason contests as one of 28 members of the National Federation of State High School Associations that have joined the NFHS Network, a new network devoted to the coverage of high school sports and performing arts through the Internet at www.NFHSnetwork.com.
The NFHS Network will have exclusive streaming rights to all postseason contests at which the MPA has site control, according to MPA executive director Dick Durost, except for select championship events for which the association has existing contracts with other media partners.
“It was negotiated at the national level on behalf of the state associations,” said Durost. “But one thing that made it attractive to us was that it allows us to keep the arrangements we already have in place with Maine Public Broadcasting for the basketball tournament and with WABI-TV for the state championship football games.
“It enables us to continue to be able to negotiate with our current vendors and others.”
At the outset of the relationship between the MPA and the NFHS Network, contests to be streamed online are expected to include all other state championship games, with the added potential for regional championship matches to be streamed exclusively through the network at some point.
“One of the great things about this is that it enables us to provide expanded publicity and recognition for the teams and athletes in other activities,” said Durost, who said he hopes the service eventually will allow for the live streaming of non-sports events such as state jazz festivals and debate competitions that are also sponsored by the MPA.
The online video streams will be available to the public on a pay per view basis. Durost said he did not yet know the specific cost per game for the service but added that the charge typically has ranged between $2 and $3 per event in states that already have utilized the service.
“For the grandmother in Florida or the brother in Afghanistan, this provides them the opportunity to watch their relatives compete or to follow their alma mater,” Durost said.
The NFHS, in association with PlayOn! Sports, announced the official launch of the NFHS Network on Aug 1, and planned coverage during the 2013‐14 school year would make the network the largest aggregated destination for coverage of high school sports in the country.
PlayOn! Sports currently streams nearly 30,000 events per school year, often utilizing in-state production and on-air personnel.
“We believe this is one of the greatest opportunities in the 94‐year history of the NFHS
as we are able to take advantage of new technology and showcase high school sports and
performing arts on a national scale,” said NFHS executive director Bob Gardner in a press release. “We are excited to provide viewership opportunities for fans of high school sports that have never existed before. The NFHS Network will help showcase our primary mission of expanding participation and opportunities for involvement in education‐based interscholastic sports and performing arts activities.”
In addition to the MPA, NFHS member associations in the following states will be part of the NFHS Network during the 2013‐14 school year: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
Viewing opportunities for NFHS Network events will be posted in the coming months at www.NFHSnetwork.com.