SHUTTERSTOCK ILLUSTRATION

Streaming can be source of revenue

By DEL DUDUIT

Southern Ohio Today


     The Ohio High School Athletic Association Board of Directors has accepted a proposal from OHSAA staff that allows schools to seek rights fees from local media outlets or video production companies to provide live video of their home regular-season Friday night football games during the 2020 season.


     This is a move that addressed the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.


     “I think they are trying to make the best out of a bad situation,” said Notre Dame High School Principal J.D. McKenzie. “This year, I think a lot of (schools’) sports departments will suffer financially with smaller crowd sizes, smaller sales from concession stands and things like that. It’s definitely going to be a different year.”


     Since the mid-1990s, live video of Friday night regular-season football games has only been allowed by the host school on the school-owned TV station or website or the school-controlled webpage, leaving media to show Friday night games only on delay. At the time, that regulation was added at the request of a majority of OHSAA member schools to protect ticket revenue from their home games and have a statewide policy.


     “Anything we will be able to do to do to bring in funds at this point is an advantage and a benefit,” McKenzie added. “But some schools in the area are not set up for that and might have to cover the costs up front.”


     While continuing to provide their own live video, a growing number of schools have asked to partner with third-party sources to generate revenue from rights fees and pay-per-view of their Friday night home football games because of an expected decrease in crowd sizes.


     Schools are already permitted to do that for all other regular-season contests in any sport, and regular-season football games that are not played on Friday, according to a statement from the OHSAA.


     “We believe that many of our schools will be able to work with partners to stream and televise their home regular-season football games,” said Bob Goldring, OHSAA Interim Executive Director. “Most of our schools rely on revenue from their home football games to help fund their athletic departments, so this is one way that schools can still do that while facing limited ticket sales."


     Spectrum News 1 is the official TV partner of the OHSAA. As the home of the OHSAA, Spectrum will resume its Friday Night Game of the Week and Scholar-Athlete program when the fall season begins.

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