The same four entities will be showing the state’s boys and girls high school basketball tournament games this season either online or on TV, according to Dick Durost, the executive director of the Maine Principals’ Association.
The National Federation of High School Sports Associations Network, the Northeast Sports Network, Maine Public and WVII-TV ABC Channel 7 will all be carrying games.
The NFHS is streaming the quarterfinals, the NSN will carry the regional semifinals and finals, and Maine Public Television will televise the state finals in all five classes on its two channels: MPT and the PBS Kids Channel. It will also stream them on mainepublic.org.
MPBN also will rebroadcast games.
In addition, the National Federation network has again reached an agreement with the Northeast Sports Network to take the feed of the regional semifinals and finals which will be produced by the NSN.
The Class AA boys and girls quarterfinals will not be broadcast because they are being held on the home courts of the higher seeded teams.
The NFHS Network is a subscriber-based network, and the cost is $9.95 per month. In addition to watching the Maine high school basketball tournaments, subscribers also are able to watch other high school sports in Maine, and basketball tournaments and other sports from across the country.
The NSN is an advertiser-based network so there is no fee, and it’s the same with Maine Public Television and WVII-TV coverage.
Channel 7 will take the feed from NSN to air two games apiece on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.
Maine Public previously broadcast regional semifinals and finals in addition to state championship games. But when the field expanded from four classes to five classes for the 2015-16 season and games were being held simultaneously at three different sites rather than two, Maine Public did not have the personnel or the resources to broadcast from all three sites.
“Obviously, we would like to have an arrangement with one entity for the entire tournament. Then it would be less confusing. But we have worked hard to provide the opportunity for people who can’t get to the games to be able to watch them,” Durost said.
The broadcasts are profitable for the MPA, but Durost said the TV coverage can cut into attendance and the profit margin.
“An adult ticket is $8 for a two-game session,” Durost said. “If 100 people decide to stay home and watch the games [on the internet or TV], that’s $800 [lost]. We certainly don’t make $800 for a session [in TV/internet revenue].”
Durost is happy with the arrangement the MPA has forged with all the broadcast entities.
“We’ve had to piecemeal things together, but this is the best option we have,” he said.
The MPA has four more years on the contract with the NFHS Network and it has a three-year deal with Maine Public Television. The Northeast Sports Network and WVII deals are negotiated annually.
The Class B, C and D North tournaments are held at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor. The Classes A North and C and D South tournaments are played at the Augusta Civic Center. The Class AA North and South semifinals and finals, and the Classes A and B South tourneys played in Portland at either the Portland Expo or the Cross Insurance Arena.
The Class A state championship games will be held at the Augusta Civic Center on Friday night, March 1. The next day, the Classes AA and B state finals will be at the Cross Insurance Arena in Portland, and the C and D state championships will be in Bangor at the Cross Insurance Center.