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New High School Sports Network Planned for Coming School Year

By guest blogger Gina Cairney

For the high school sports fan who just can't seem to get enough of high school sports coverage, things may just have gotten even more exciting for you.

The National Federation of State High School Associations and PlayOn! Sports plan to launch an all-digital network devoted to providing coverage of high school athletics through NFHS association members, the media company announced Tuesday at the 94th annual meeting in Denver.

The content, according to PlayOn! Sports' CEO, David Rudolph, will focus on three areas: innovation, integration, and inclusion.

With changes in media consumption, and how students create and share content through multiple devices and platforms, Rudolph said the network needs to make sure that it's a network for the "next 40 years, not the last 40 years," and coverage will need to be accessible on every screen from TVs to mobile devices.

The goal of the NFHS Network will be to broadcast every boy's and girl's sporting event, Rudolph said, from football and basketball to bowling and water polo. Every state will have the opportunity to participate in the network. The live coverage will be a critical aspect of the network, he said, which will represent the high school sports experience for all student-athletes. Content will also include behind-the-scenes-type stories that build on a team's or athlete's story, giving momentum to the coverage.

The network also plans to create a learning opportunity for students interested in broadcast media. Students will learn how to record, develop, stream, and anchor the games, allowing them to not only develop skills in broadcast media but to learn leadership, teamwork, and critical-thinking skills, according to Rudolph.

The NFHS Network will build on the already successful PlayOn! Sports coverage of high school sports started last year, according to a press release, which currently streams about 30,000 events per school year.

Each state will have the opportunity to maintain their relationships with local media, but the NFHS Network would become the "largest aggregated destination for coverage of high school sports in the country," the press release states, increasing opportunities for family members, friends, and everyone else to watch an event anywhere in the world.

"Ultimately, we want to make the NFHS Network the most treasured and trusted source for high school athletics," Bob Gardner, the executive director of NFHS, said at the annual meeting.


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