The National Federation of High School Sports Associations Network, the Northeast Sports Network and the Maine Public Broadcasting Network will again team up to broadcast the state high school basketball tournaments.
Dick Durost, the executive director of the Maine Principals’ Association, said the NFHS Network will livestream all of the quarterfinals except in Class AA because the AA North and South quarterfinals are being held at the sites of the higher seeded teams.
The Northeast Sports Network will livestream the semifinals and regional finals in all five classes and the Maine Public Broadcasting Network will televise all 10 state championship games on its primary channel and its PBS Kids Channel. Those games will also be streamed live on mainepublic.org.
There will also be repeat broadcasts.
Durost also said he is in discussions with officials at WVII-TV ABC Channel 7 in Bangor to air two games apiece next Wednesday, Thursday and Friday afternoon as it did in the past. They would take the feed from the Northeast Sports Network.
The NFHS Network requires a subscription fee believed to be $9.95 a month, according to Durost.
It can be obtained on a monthly basis and Durost warned potential subscribers to make sure they subscribe for just the monthly fee as he said some accidentally wound up signing up for a year’s subscription in the past.
“But the people at the NFHS were good about letting them out of it,” said Durost.
He also pointed out that the NFHS Network will be showing the regional semifinal and final games that will be livestreamed on the Northeast Sports Network.
The NFHS subscription entitles subscribers to watch different sports from 36 states.
Those wishing to subscribe to the NFHS Network can do so at www.nfhsnetwork.com/me.
To pick up the Northeast Sports Network feed, viewers can do so by going to nsnsports.net.
The expansion from four classes to five classes in Maine high school basketball for the 2015-16 season resulted a dramatic change in the television coverage of the tournaments.
MPBN had been carrying regional semifinals and finals in addition to state championship games but the expansion meant there would be games going on simultaneously at three different sites instead of two and MPBN didn’t have the personnel or resources to be at all three sites.
“I think it’s probably a little confusing to some people because we’re using three different providers but it is what it is,” said Durost. “MPBN didn’t have the manpower to do it any more and we understood that. That’s the only reason we went to streaming. That was our one option.
“It isn’t as convenient as turning on the television and being able to watch it but we have tried to meet the needs of people who can’t get (to the games),” said Durost.
Durost said the MPA makes money on the basketball tournaments and pointed out that revenue made from the tourneys helps to pay the costs of other MPA-sanctioned sporting events (i.e. state cross country meets) that don’t bring in revenue and actually lose money.
“We haven’t had to raise ticket prices or interscholastic dues since 2011-12 and as long as we are able to at least break even, it isn’t going to change,” said Durost.
He noted that the raise in the minimum wage has cut into the MPA profits.
The tournaments themselves have undergone an alteration.
Durost said the MPA reached a compromise with the Class AA school administrators, who had wanted to keep the tournament in Portland rather than having games in Augusta.
Three of the eight AA schools, Portland, Deering and Cheverus, are in Portland and Windham is 12 miles from Portland. Oxford Hills of South Paris is eight miles closer to Portland than Augusta and Lewiston and Edward Little High of Auburn are roughly the same distance between Portland and Augusta. Only Bangor is significantly close to Augusta.
The compromise has the quarterfinals being held at school sites and the regional semifinals and finals being held in Portland.
The other agreement was between the MPA and America East which, for the second year in a row, is holding the its women’s basketball tournament at the Cross Insurance Arena in Portland on March 3-4.
The Class A state championships will be held in Portland on Thursday, March 1 and the AA states will be held the next night.
“The Cross Insurance Arena, America East and the MPA were able to find time for everyone,” said Durost.
Augusta will be the site of the Class A North and D and C South tournaments; Portland will have the A and B South tourneys as well as the AA North and South semifinals and finals and the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor will hold the B,C and D North tourneys.
In addition to Portland having the A and AA state finals, Bangor will host the B finals on March 2 and the Augusta Civic Center will hold the C and D state games on March 3.
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