HS conference to stream sports via internet

It might not be up there with the Big Ten or SEC networks, at least not yet. But Sangamo Conference athletics will have a lot more visibility on the Internet during the upcoming school year.

Adam Eucker, athletic director at Williamsville High School, said almost all Sangamo Conference football, volleyball and boys and girls basketball games can be seen live for a fee during the 2016-17 school year through the National Federation of High Schools (NFHS) Network.

Eucker said the Sangamo is the first high school conference in the country to offer an across-the-board viewing package on the NFHS Network.

With the addition of Maroa-Forsyth this year, the Sangamo’s football schedule is comprised entirely of league games. Eucker said volleyball and basketball viewing will be limited to conference games only.

“We decided to band together as a conference to promote our kids and our sports,” Eucker said. “It’s also a way for families with ties to the conference to be able to watch if they don’t live in the area anymore.

“There’s a number of ways you can watch, including your computer, a mobile device or your iPad.”

Riverton is out

The only exception will be Riverton home games. Riverton athletic director Jamie Toland said the school district decided against doing live streaming of home games this year due to a combination of financial and manpower concerns.

“When we’re having to reduce positions and making cutbacks, it just wasn’t in the financial interest of the (school) district at this time,” Toland said. “We were also struggling to find people to do it.

“You can’t just have anyone do it. These people will be on the air and they have to be reliable and accountable.”

But Toland added that Riverton is excited about having its teams get exposure for away games.

“It’s a great program,” Toland said. “We’re thankful to be in a conference that’s doing this. We might revisit it in a year.”

Eucker said he understood Riverton’s situation, although a basic broadcast team could consist of as few as three people: someone manning the camera, someone running a video board and a broadcaster.

As for the financial commitment, Eucker said Williamsville went “high end” when it began putting Bullets’ games on the Internet three years ago. The cost came to about $7,000, although the investment for some districts could be as little as $80 assuming the district already has a camera and a computer that runs Windows access.

“It’s a good investment from a public relations standpoint,” Eucker said. “It’s a good way to promote kids and programs. A school should get more out of it than what it paid initially.”

Eucker said it’s possible a game could be shown without an actual broadcaster, but “the last time we talked as a conference, the goal was to have a live broadcaster for all the games.”

Packages available

Several subscription packages are available: $10 for a month, $35 for four months or $60 for one year – covering 365 days from the date of purchase. Viewers can subscribe by going to www.nfhsnetwork.com.

“They can enter in the school they’re following or by entering in ‘Sangamo Conference,'” he said. “They can watch any (Sangamo) games regardless of what school they follow.

“Regardless of what schools have the most subscriptions, we’ll profit share as a conference for the first year.”- by Dave Kane, The State Journal- Register (Springfield, IL)