HS basketball tournament streaming rights awarded

Ryan McLaughlin, Special to The County
9 years ago

HS basketball tournament
streaming rights awarded

AUGUSTA, Maine — The Maine Principals’ Association has accomplished its goal of providing fans with live coverage of its high school basketball regional tournaments in 2016.

The MPA announced on Dec. 8 that it has granted Northeast Sports Network, based in Lyndonville, Vt., the live streaming rights to the 2016 tournaments. NSN will stream 60 semifinal and regional championship games from venues in Bangor, Augusta and Portland.
The games may be watched free of charge.
“We are excited to be working with such an experienced streaming provider,” said Maine Principals’ Association Executive Director Dick Durost.
“This successfully completes our basketball tournament coverage package with the NFHS (National Federation of State High School Associations) Network covering all 72 regional quarterfinals as in the last two years, with the Northeast Sports Network covering all 60 regional semifinals and finals games, and with MPBN providing live television broadcasts of the 10 state championship games.”
Durost said the agreement with Northeast Sports Network is for 2016 only, as the MPA wants to keep its option open to account for developments in technology or interest from entities that might be interested in broadcasting future games.
The Maine Public Broadcasting Network will televise and stream the 10 state championship games. The MPA awarded those rights to MPBN last month.
That means all 142 basketball playoff games after the preliminary round, in the North and South regions, will be available to Maine fans either through live webcasts or live television coverage.
“This is certainly a relief to me to have this settled and have it settled two full months prior to the opening of the tournament,” Durost said. “It’s good for the public and it’s good for us.”
MPBN announced in November that it no longer could broadcast regional semifinal and final games after the addition of a fifth class to basketball for the 2015-2016 season. That meant there would be games going on simultaneously at three different sites instead of two.
MPBN cited a lack of resources to be able to take on the added coverage.
Northeast Sports Network was founded in 2006 and specializes in production of live athletic events and Web streaming, and is the production and streaming provider for 15 college athletic programs across New England and New York.
Durost said the MPA received interest from 10 or 12 potential broadcast entities and eventually entertained five or six proposals, a few of which did not include financial offers. He said the ability to have fans click on one Web link to access games from all three sites was a key concern in choosing NSN.
“It was important for us for consistency and easy access to get a single entity,” Durost said.
While he would not divulge the financial details of the arrangement with NSN, he said the $10,000 paid by MPBN ($2,000 of which is to produce a cheerleading program), in addition to the NSN streaming deal, is slightly more than the $16,000 received last year from MPBN to do the regional semifinals and finals and state title games.
The agreement will allow Northeast Sports Network to provide high-definition video streams, including three camera angles, instant replay and a full graphics package. Fans will be able to watch games on smartphones, tablets, computers and smart TVs.
“This Vermont company has a track record beyond high school sports,” Durost said. “From everything we could find out, this looked like the best opportunity for us to provide what we wanted to provide for the public of Maine.”