It will be status quo when it comes to the television-internet coverage of the regional and state high school basketball tournaments that begin this week.
“It will be exactly the same combination as last year,” said Dick Durost, the executive director of the Maine Principals’ Association on Tuesday.
“We work with three entities, and they all fill a niche for us. It went well last year. We found a combination that worked,” he said.
“Our goal was to make sure some form of video was out there. In an ideal world, we would be able to televise more games on MPBN or another TV entity. Fortunately, streaming is at least available now as opposed to several years ago when it wasn’t available,” said Durost.
The Atlanta-based National Federation of State High School Associations Network is a subscription service that will livestream the quarterfinals for the fourth consecutive season. The NFHS Network has six years remaining on its seven-year deal with the Maine Principals’ Association.
The Northeast Sports Network, based in Lyndonville, Vermont, will livestream the semifinals and regional championship games free of charge, and the Maine Public Broadcasting Network will televise the 10 state championship games.
Bangor TV station ABC 7-WFVX Fox 22 teamed up with the Northeast Sports Network to televise six semifinals a year ago, and Durost said they are negotiating with the station for a similar arrangement this season.
Last year represented the first time three different organizations were involved in the live streaming/televising of the 142 games after MPBN announced in November 2015 that it couldn’t carry the regional semifinals and finals because the addition of a fifth class, Class AA, left it shy of resources to handle the extra coverage.
MPBN had carried the tournaments for 36 years.
Fans will be able to watch games on smartphones, tablets, computers and smart TVs. A cable connected from a computer to a TV also may allow viewers to watch the games on their TVs.
The NFHS Network is a subscription service because it doesn’t sell local advertising, according to Durost.
Last year’s subscription rate was $9.95 per day, $15 per month or $119.95 per year for viewers to watch games.
NFHS had already done live streaming for other Maine Principals’ Association-sponsored sports such as soccer and cheerleading.
Subscribers also will be able to watch a variety of high school sports from over 30 other states.
The Northeast Sports Network does not charge because it sells advertising.
Durost said that the Maine-based C.N. Brown Company helps underwrite the production costs for the Northeast Sports Network.
The C.N. Brown Company owns 76 Big Apple convenience stores across four New England states along with 26 heating oil offices, 12 service stations and over 100 gasoline dealers.
Durost said the streaming involves using announcers from the state, which he considers a positive because the announcers are familiar with the players and the teams.
Preliminary round games are being played on Tuesday and Wednesday, and the Class AA North girls tourney also starts on Wednesday at the Augusta Civic Center with No. 4 Cheverus of Portland (11-7) taking on No. 5 Bangor (8-10) at 6 p.m. and No. 3 Deering of Portland (11-7) against No. 6 Lewiston (9-9) at about 7:30 p.m.
All of the tournament games in the five classes will be played at either the Expo or Cross Insurance Arena in Portland, the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor or the Augusta Civic Center.