The Michigan High School Athletic Association is one of 32 members of the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) that has joined the NFHS Network, the new all-digital network devoted to coverage of high school sports and performing arts through the Internet at MHSAA.tv and NFHSnetwork.com.
The NFHS, in association with PlayOn! Sports (PlayOn), announced the official launch of the NFHS Network on Aug. 1. With coverage of boys and girls sports and activities initially in at least 32 states during the 2013-14 school year, the NFHS Network becomes the largest aggregated destination for coverage of high school sports in the country. Through a digital service that is at least partially subscription-based available at MHSAA.tv and NFHSnetwork.com, more students, parents and fans will be able to watch high school sports than ever before.
In addition to the MHSAA, NFHS member associations in the following states have finalized agreements and will be a part of the NFHS Network as the 2013-14 season begins: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
In addition, member associations in a number of other states are expected to join the NFHS Network soon.
“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 across the United States,” said Bob Gardner, NFHS executive director. “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.”
“For more than a century, school sports has had the highest profile of all youth sports,” said John E. “Jack” Roberts, MHSAA executive director. “We feature pep assemblies, pep bans, marching bands, cheerleaders, homecoming parades and dances, letter jackets and other traditions, with large crowds of classmates, neighbors and families cheering on students. Ours is a unique brand that stands out among all of youth sports. Done right, this network will solidify interscholastic athletics as the most popular and principled youth sports experience for many more generations.”
Postseason games in all sports sponsored by the MHSAA will be available online on the Network, except for select championship events for which the MHSAA has existing television contracts with other media partners. Viewing opportunities for other NFHS Network events will be posted in the coming months at NFHSnetwork.com.
The NFHS Network will build on the past success of PlayOn’s high-quality coverage of high school sports at the state level. PlayOn currently streams nearly 30,000 events per school year and has worked with 32 state associations and sections in 26 states.
“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.”
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. On Aug. 8, Roberts was elected chairman of the five-member NFHS Network board of directors that will be responsible for guiding the Network. “This won’t be easy,” Roberts said, “but nothing really worthwhile ever is.”
“Ultimately, we want to make the NFHS Network the most treasured and trusted source for high school athletics,” Gardner said.