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Sports Business

IHSAA launches TV apps to connect fans to high school sports anytime, anywhere

February 21, 2017
KEYWORDS Sports Business

The Indiana High School Athletic Association wants to make sure Hoosier high school sports fans can watch their favorite high school sport anytime, anywhere.

IHSAA this month released IHSAAtv apps for Amazon Fire TV, Android TV and Roku.  

The IHSAAtv apps, which are now available as free downloads through the Amazon Fire TV and Amazon Fire TV Stick, the Play Store on Android TV, the App Store on Apple TV, and as a Streaming Channel on Roku, provide area high school sports fans with “quick and easy access to their favorite IHSAA live and archived events produced by the IHSAA Champions Network and IHSAAtv affiliates,” said Heath Shanahan, IHSAA director of broadcast operations.  

The IHSAA partnered with Lexington, Kentucky-based BlueFrame Technology to develop the new suite of apps.

The app and the user interface is designed to allow viewers to quickly search through thousands of archived broadcasts, IHSAA officials said. 

These IHSAAtv applications comes on the heels of IHSAAtv’s fourth generation Apple TV release last fall.  

IHSAAtv’s presence now represents the most comprehensive offering of live and archived high school sporting events anywhere in the country, Shanahan said. 

“We are excited to now offer even more ways for high school sports fans to watch all of our IHSAA Champions Network broadcasts, and the broadcasts of our affiliates, on any of their streaming devises,” Shanahan said. “With these new apps, we are confident that Hoosiers around the globe will have the opportunity to watch their team play live.” 

IHSAAtv was launched in October 2010. In 2015, the IHSAA began producing a game of the week in addition to state championships. Starting in 2016, the IHSAAtv platform was opened to network affiliates who provide regular coverage of their local teams. 

The IHSAA relies largely on five content providers for its game coverage. They are Fishers Sports Network and Hometown Television Web Network, both in Hamilton County; Green County Sports Network; Summit City Sports in Fort Wayne and the IHSAA Champions Network. 

The IHSAAtv platform is open to any broadcaster covering IHSAA events, Shanahan said. 

During the season, football and basketball games can now be seen on a weekly basis through the IHSAAtv platform. Many of the games on the IHSAA Champions Network are called by long-time local broadcaster Jerry Baker. 

IHSAAtv also broadcasts baseball, softball and volleyball games in addition to track and field, cross country and swimming meets and wrestling matches. IHSAA officials said they are also looking into broadcasting tennis and other sports in the near future.

“As a leader in high school athletics and sports video production, the IHSAA is an ideal partner to roll out BlueFrame’s streaming application platform for high schools,” Ben Kant, co‐founder and CEO of BlueFrame Technology, said in a statement.  “IHSAAtv now offers the fans of the IHSAA a first‐class viewership experience.

"BlueFrame’s end‐to‐end digital network solution includes everything a broadcaster needs to get started, and the IHSAAtv platform provides a destination for fans of the IHSAA to engage with those broadcasts," Kant added.  

Key to IHSAAtv's capabilities is BlueFrame’s Production Truck software, Shanahan said. 

"Production Truck runs from a laptop and allows us to control four cameras, run ad spots, instant replay and communicate with on-air talent,” Shanahan explained. “All we need is high-speed internet access and we can do in a 5-by-5 space in the press box what used to require an entire production truck.”

The IHSAA has signed Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance as the title sponsor of IHSAA Champions Network as well as deals with the Indianapolis Colts, Indiana Pacers and other sponsors to offset costs of broadcasting the games and operating IHSAAtv, Shanahan explained.

“The feedback from all this has been fantastic from student-athletes, parents, grandparents and aunts and uncles and other fans—some who may live out of state and might not otherwise be able to see the games,” Shanahan said. 

IHSAA officials said college coaches also have used IHSAAtv broadcasts to scout prospects.

“We want to use every means possible to let the student-athletes who work so hard at their sports to be seen competing,” Shanahan said. “In the end, this is all about the student-athlete. That’s what we as an organization are all about.”

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