Joint Venture Would Create Central Destination, Expanded Coverage of High School Sports
The National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) and PlayOn! Sports (PlayOn) plan to create and launch the NFHS Network, an all-digital network devoted to coverage of high school athletic content through the Federation’s state association members. The NFHS Network, with an anticipated start date at the beginning of the 2013-14 school year and featuring comprehensive coverage of boys and girls sports and activities from across the country, will be a subscription-based digital service available at NFHSnetwork.com.
Each of the 51 NFHS state association members has the opportunity to join the NFHS Network to showcase its high schools, student athletes and tournaments. While states will continue to maintain local media relationships, the NFHS Network will become the largest aggregated destination for coverage of high school sports in the country, thus creating increased viewing opportunities for students, parents and fans – wherever they may be in the world.
“With 19,000 high schools in the United States and nearly two million events held annually across the country, we are very excited about this enormous opportunity,” said Bob Gardner, executive director of the NFHS. “Once launched, the network will help the Federation showcase its primary mission of expanding participation and opportunities for involvement in education-based interscholastic sports and performing arts activities. We are excited to provide viewership opportunities for fans of high school athletics all over the country.”
The new NFHS Network will build on the existing success of the PlayOn digital platform and high-quality coverage of high school sports. PlayOn currently streams nearly 30,000 events per school year on its national digital portal in addition to producing and distributing television coverage of select championship events. PlayOn works with 32 state associations and sections in 26 states, as well as more than 600 high schools across the country that have adopted PlayOn’s technology platform to self-produce their school’s sports and activities.
“Teaming up with the NFHS is a natural progression to build a truly national high school sports platform while honoring the local communities that support them,” said David Rudolph, PlayOn! Sports chief executive officer. “Our mission is to serve the current and future generations of student-athletes, support and encourage their participation and make their performances accessible to their friends, family and fans on every media platform they use.”
Nearly 50 million Americans identify themselves as high school sports fans and high school events have three times the attendance of college and professional sporting events combined. Couple this passionate fan base with the usage of smartphones and other connected devices and the NFHS Network will become a consolidated high school destination for schools, student-athletes, families, fans, alumni and advertisers.
“We are building a network for the next 40 years,” Rudolph continued. “The NFHS Network is being designed for the next generation of consumers who are driving the consumption of content in a multi-screen environment. These digital natives will set the stage for the success of the NFHS Network.”
The NFHS Network is a joint venture between the NFHS and PlayOn! Sports and will be governed and overseen by a combination of NFHS and PlayOn executives. Both Gardner and Rudolph worked with numerous state association executive directors for more than seven months to develop the concept and agreement. The NFHS Network is structured to provide all state associations with the opportunity to participate, providing a framework for a true national footprint for high school sports.
“Ultimately, we want to make the NFHS Network the most treasured and trusted source for high school athletics,” Gardner said.
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